Chris Johnson said Wednesday that he considers himself an entertainer of sorts.
So, perhaps that’s why Johnson spent his Tuesday with another famous Nashville entertainer – dining with country music star Faith Hill at Swett’s Restaurant and giving her an autographed jersey as well.
“It went real good. We had a 45-minute lunch at Swett’s,” Johnson said. “She’s a real big fan, and I’m a fan of hers too now.”
Johnson has plenty of fans in Nashville and beyond with his electrifying style and his 959 yards rushing that currently leads the NFL. Johnson recently in trying to show how he perceives himself, said he wants to be a go-to player like basketball stars LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.
“I see myself as that type of player. I’m just trying to make the whole world recognize that I’m one of those types of players like LeBron or Kobe,” Johnson said.
In the same breath, though, the entertainment portion of the game isn’t lost on Johnson, who counts himself an admirer of Terrell Owens, who is scheduled to visit this Sunday with the Buffalo Bills.
“I’m a real big fan of T.O.,” Johnson said. “He’s basically an entertainer, and he wants to have fun. He doesn’t want to make it boring.”
And that’s the way he feels about himself.
“I want to be an entertainer every time I play the game. I want to be known for making the game fun. I don’t want it to be boring. When I’m on the field and my teammates are on the field with me, I want them having fun,” Johnson said.
So what about his celebrations, which have been noticeably absent this year – things like playing bongo drums in Kansas City after a touchdown.
“We’ve been 0-6, and there’s been no reason to celebrate. I can’t go play no bongos or nothing like that if we’re 0-6,” Johnson said. “The more wins we get, the more things that they’ll get. I had a lot of things planned this year, but we didn’t start off like how we wanted to start off, so ain’t nobody seen none of them.”
But if the Titans keep winning, Johnson is ready to jazz things up.
“I feel like if we can get a victory this week, and next week then something will be coming very soon,” Johnson said.
Of course, the main thing Johnson is known for is not simply entertaining, it’s his lightning speed, which first came to light at the NFL Combine when he ran a 4.24 time in the 40-yard dash.
His teammates have been in awe since the Titans drafted him last year.
“It’s amazing. He’s a guy that can take the simplest little dive play and turn it into a big game for us. It lets us know we can hit a home run at any time if we do things the right way,” Titans center Kevin Mawae.
Now, opponents are wary of it, too, as even tacklers with angles on Johnson don’t always bring him down.
“It’s funny, when I break a tackle or something, you’ll just see the last guy turn around and run to the end zone. He doesn’t try to run to me to make the tackle,” Johnson said.
So has Johnson ever lost a race?
“Yes. I lost to Xavier Carter and a guy named Walter Dix,” Johnson said. “They’re track athletes."
And not just any track athletes. Carter was the NCAA outdoor champion in both the 100 and 400 meters in 2006, and Dix won the bronze medal in the 100 meters at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
In addition to receiver Justin Gage, who missed practice with a back injury, several Titans players were held out of Wednesday’s practice.
That included cornerback Cortland Finnegan, who rested his hamstring, according to Coach Jeff Fisher.
Tackle David Stewart remains out with a hamstring issue as well. He sat out last week with guard Leroy Harris filling in for him. Tackle Mike Otto was back from a knee injury and practiced fully.
Running back Javon Ringer did some running, but still has not practice after suffering a back injury two weeks ago.
Running back LenDale White was absent with an illness, and linebacker David Thornton was limited with a hip injury.
Cornerback Nick Harper, who has been out with a broken forearm, is close to being ready to return, according to Jeff Fisher. Harper practiced fully on Wednesday.
“I think Nick is close. We’ll see how he is throughout the week, but he’s close to being able to play,” Fisher said.
Nickelback Vincent Fuller returned two weeks ago from a broken forearm, and missed three games plus the bye. Harper, who was injured Oct. 11, has missed three games plus the bye.
“A fractured forearm with a plate is a difficult thing to come from, especially in a contact sport. Vinnie is getting by in the nickel, but sometimes it takes a little bit longer,” Fisher said.