No show. No dough.
That is the approach Tennessee Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt has adopted in negotiations with running back Chris Johnson on a new contract. As such, those talks stalled Friday.
Johnson was the only one of the 81 players under contract Friday who did not report for the first day of training camp. The running back has said he would like to renegotiate his current deal, which has two years remaining on it and — following a renegotiation at the start of last season that increased his 2010 salary — is scheduled to pay him a salary of $800,000 this season.
“We redid Chris’ contract last year,” Reinfeldt said. “We’re willing to sit down with Chris and his agent and talk about the contract. We just need Chris in camp to start those discussions.
“… He needs to be here with the rest of the Titans getting ready to play games.”
Under terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, which ended the four-month lockout, Johnson is subject to a fine of $30,000 per day for each day he skips.
Training camp officially opened Friday with meetings and physical tests to evaluate the conditioning level of the players. Every player was deemed fit enough to take part in practice sessions, which commence Saturday afternoon.
“We know Chris is a great football player, and we know he’s going to be a big part of this offense,” first-year coach Mike Munchak said. “At some point, when the smoke clears, we know we’ll have him here. So we’re not going to worry about all of that. We have to concentrate on … who’s here and who we’re working with.
“… I think it’s up to us not to allow it to be a distraction.”
Johnson has averaged 1,532.7 yards and 11.3 rushing touchdowns during his three NFL seasons.
In 2009 he became the sixth player in NFL history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season and the first with more than 2,000 yards rushing and 500 receiving in the same year. He also was named Offensive Player of the Year and a unanimous first-team All-Pro that season.
Without him, the only running back on the roster who has NFL regular season experience is third-year veteran Javon Ringer.
“He’s a good football player,” Reinfeldt said. “We have a good relationship with Chris and his agent. We would hope that would continue.
“…He’s under contract. He should be here. I mean, everybody else is here.”