In the days leading up to the 2011 season, Chris Johnson landed a four-year, $53.5 million contract extension, with $30 million of it guaranteed. After the ink dried, expectations for the three-time Pro Bowl running back skyrocketed. He responded with, by his lofty standards, a very mediocre season, rushing for 1,047 yards, four touchdowns, and a few impromptu trips to the bench.
The main excuse for the down year was due to Johnson being “out of shape” after the lockout and self-imposed holdout sapped his conditioning. He never lost confidence, though, saying in June that he’s still tops at his position.
Heading into the 2012 campaign, expectations began to slowly rise. In Week One, with no excuses left and a chance to ditch his detractors, Johnson was non-existent, totaling just four — count ‘em four — yards on eleven carries.
It was just about the worst possible start for the man who just three years ago set an NFL record with 2,509 yards from scrimmage.
Facing more criticism ...