Jason McCourty will believe it when he sees it.
Amid reports that Chris Johnson will be (finally) waived Friday, McCourty said on SiriusXM NFL Radio that he hopes the running back remains with the team.
“I think he can still go somewhere and be a starting running back. I hope the case is that he’s still our starting running back,” McCourty said. “A lot of that is out of his control and everybody else’s, other than the GM and the coaches.”
McCourty, a cornerback and team captain, pointed to Johnson’s 66-yard touchdown reception against San Francisco and a 49-yard touchdown catch against Kansas City as evidence that the 28-year-old remains a valuable commodity in the NFL.
The Titans’ concern, obviously, is whether Johnson is worth the $8 million salary he is scheduled to earn this season given that he rushed for 1,077 yards and averaged 3.9 yards per carry (both carrer-lows) in 2013.
“You saw CJ last year, there were certain plays where I know we threw two check-downs to him and he took them about 60 yards for touchdowns,” McCourty said. “So he still has that explosiveness. I think when he gets to a team and you put him in the right situations, get him on the outside and in the open field, he can still make a lot of guys miss and still hit that home run play. So I think he still has a lot left in the tank. I hope he’s still on the team and he’s still a teammate of ours, but we’ll see.”
Assuming Johnson is released, McCourty attempted to preempt any sort of character discussion, such as the one that accompanied wide receiver DeSean Jackson’s recent release by Philadelphia.
“It’s hard to find an offensive guy, running back [or] receiver, who doesn’t want the ball,” McCourty said. “I don’t think a guy in that position is wrong for wanting the ball and wanting to be able to impact the game and make plays for his team.
“CJ is a hard worker. I think a testament to that is that the guy plays in every game. He’s not the biggest running back out there but he’s ready to go each and every week. That’s one of the best things about him, his durability and his ability just to be able to rehab and be able to come back each week.
“He’s a quiet guy. He does the right things. CJ has never been in trouble, as much as people want to say negative things about him, he’s not a guy who is late to things. He’s going to show up and he’s going to perform and do what’s asked of him.”
POSTDATA: WARRANTY DEEDS