"It was real," Johnson said during a conference call with South Florida reporters. "We were at a pool party and (Ginn) was talking. I said, 'Let's go.'"
According to Johnson's version, he headed for the street wearing tennis shoes and flanked by an entourage that included Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco and Titans quarterback Vince Young. Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter was there as well, which means pregame warm-ups this Sunday in Nashville should be particularly interesting.
"(Ginn) and Joey Porter and those guys were talking about how he can beat me and he said he can beat me," Johnson said. "When it came down to it, he just was a no-show. ... They said they were going to show up the next day. They never called the phone."
Johnson's time of 4.24 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the 2008 NFL Scouting Combine is tied for the fastest since electronic timing was introduced in 1999. Ginn reportedly matched Johnson's time during a workout at Ohio State, but his Combine time was only 4.37 seconds due to a lingering foot injury suffered in the BCS title game against Florida.
"We were at the same place at the same time; the conversation did happen," Ginn said when asked his version of the incident.
"It really came to us. It wasn't like I went to him to say, 'Let's race.' ... There were some guys at a party that figured they wanted to go out and say who was faster, so they started the rumor.
"It's nothing. It's not like I'm denying it or I'm scared of him or anything like that."
Neither man was laughing as he recounted the episode, but Ginn insisted there is no feud.
"I don't have anything against him," Ginn said. "I don't think he has anything against me. When it comes down to two guys who have the same or similar speed, you're going to have the bigger chest, period. I feel like I could beat him, he feels like he could beat me."
Maybe that's why Johnson also said flatly he could beat world sprint champion Usain Bolt -- the fastest man in the world -- at 50 meters.