Only in this day and age, when the National Football League is the nation’s supreme sports entity and much of the world speaks in social media shorthand, can an athlete go so quickly from a relative unknown to universally recognizable by just four letters: CJ2K.
A lot of Tennessee Titans fans went “Who?” when he was drafted in the first round in 2008. By the end of his record-setting 2009 season, though, he was one of the biggest sports stars anywhere.
Undersized but startlingly fast, the running back changed the nature of Middle Tennessee’s pro sports scene as it entered its second decade.
His brash predictions, albeit delivered quietly, and his devotion to things such as Twitter and UStream were perfectly in step with the times. Particularly in 2009, when he set NFL records for yards from scrimmage in a season and touchdown plays of 85 yards or more, he often managed to stay a step ahead of the opposition on the field.
Even though that success has created expectations that he has struggled with since, Johnson is the biggest name on the biggest game in Nashville.