Former 2,000-Yard Back Brimming With Confidence After Positive Start To Camp

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The way Chris Johnson sees it, anyone who sleeps on him this season is in for quite the disappointment.

The veteran running back says he fully intends on not only making an impact in 2014, but being as good statistically as he was during his first six NFL seasons. The idea of some believing he ‘s got a lot of mileage on his body is something the 28-year-old running back says he’s not the least bit concerned with.

“Yeah, the carries are the carries,” Johnson told the Daily News on Thursday, “but if you’re preparing every week and taking care of your body, it doesn’t matter.”

Johnson, who signed a two-year contract with the Jets during the offseason after a very successful run in Tennessee, has 1,742 career carries, but like the old adage about age goes, not many at Jets camp are too worried about how much the former 2,000-yard back has left.

“He’s far from done,” defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson told the newspaper. “That 4.24 speed is still there, believe it or not. He’s still got it. It’s a highlight reel waiting to happen. And we need those explosive plays.”

And it appears the Jets aren’t too worried about Johnson’s camp workload.

“I’ve been in the business long enough to know that when guys get to that seventh and eighth year in the league,” running backs coach Anthony Lynn said, “you do have to monitor their reps in practice to keep them fresh. When the guy gets in the game fresh and he’s lighting it up, you let him go. I don’t monitor reps in a game. I don’t hold back production.”

Johnson is closing in on 8,000 yards rushing in his career and has another 2,000-plus receiving, to go along with 58 total touchdowns. If he shines during his stint with the Jets, which everyone in Cortland, N.Y., seems to think he will, Johnson should move into the conversation for Canton, as in the Pro Football Hall of Fame — not that he’s at all fixated on the accomplishment.

“I wouldn’t sit here and say that if I stopped playing today, I’d make the Hall of Fame,” Johnson said. “I feel with the numbers that I got — and if I continue to put up numbers like I have been in my career — I don’t see why it could not happen.”

The Jets appear poised to use a three-back offense, with Johnson and Chris Ivory likely getting the bulk of the carries. Lynn said earlier this week he could see the bruising Ivory being more of a the short-yardage/goal-line guy, which would then leave Johnson ample opportunity to show that he’s still got it between the 20s and can break off long runs.

“These days, backs are only rushing for 1,100 or 1,200 yards,” Johnson said. “So it’s not hard to be the top guy.

“I know I’m going to make plays. I know it,” he added.

With that said, Johnson had a message for all fantasy football players: Regardless of his age or offense he plays in, don’t shy away from him.

“Of course, they should draft me,” Johnson said. “I went through a lot of situations last year. You look at (LeSean) McCoy. He got put in a great situation: great offense and great schemes. So he’s doing what he’s supposed to do. I went through three different offensive coordinators (in six years with the Titans). I feel like I now have a great offensive coordinator in Marty (Mornhinweg). And I’m going to do great things this year.”

Spoken like a Jet.

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