Chris Johnson reiterates that he’s not playing until he receives a new contract

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 14: NFL player Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans winner of the Best Breakthrough Athlete Award poses in press room during the 2010 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 14, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images for ESPY)

While appearing at the 2010 ESPY’s on Wednesday night, Titans’ running back Chris Johnson made it known that until he receives a new contract, the team can expect him not to show up for training camp next month.

From the Nashville Tennessean:

When ESPN reporter Erin Andrews asked Johnson how contract negotiations were going, Johnson offered this reply: “The contract negotiation, it’s at a standstill right now. I’m just praying right now, hopefully by the time camp comes we’ll have something worked out. If it’s not a long-term deal, just have something to get me to play this year.’’

Andrews then asked what kind of timetable Johnson was looking at: “It’s all up to Tennessee to be honest with you,’’ Johnson said. “Whenever they’re ready to get me into camp, they’ll do something. And when they do something, I’ll be proud to be there and get with my teammates.’’

Johnson had a separate interview session with ESPN reporter Colleen Dominguez, when he said, “We’re losing time right now, so hopefully within the next week or two we can come around and can agree on something.’’

Dominguez then asked him about conflicting reports on whether he would report to camp: “It depends on the Titans,” Johnson said. “If they pay me, I’m in camp. If they’re not, I’m not in camp.’’

There’s really only one way this situation will go down: the Titans will pay Johnson, but it’s not going to be what he’s asking for. At least not right now, anyway.

The Titans are hamstrung by the “30 percent” rule, so they can’t break the bank for him and they don’t want to either, seeing as how he still has three years left on his rookie contract. But they’re going to have to give him some sort of raise or else they risk having their best player proceed with a nasty holdout.

I don’t see one side caving in. I see an eventual compromise that will work for this season and then talks between the two parties resuming once the new CBA deal is signed.

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