"That's the goal," Johnson told The Sports Xchange.
Johnson's age alone shouldn't be viewed as a deterrent. Barry Sanders rushed for 2,053 yards in 1997 at age 29.
"I think it can be done," the Tennessee Titans' star tailback reiterated to The Tennessean newspaper recently.
And, history aside, it probably can be. But only if the Titans' offensive line, previously a model of stability and performance, plays better in 2012 than it did last season. And, too, if it comes together after an offseason of change.
Much of the culpability for Johnson's dropoff the past two seasons, after becoming only the sixth player in league history to run for 2,000 yards in 2009, has focused on the four-year veteran back. And, arguably, deservedly so, especially after a lengthy holdout in 2011 that followed the lockout.
Johnson dropped from 2,006 yards in ‘09, to 1,364 yards in 2010, and to a career worst 1,047 yards last season. His average per carry, just 4.0 yards, was also the lowest of his career. And only two seasons after posting seven runs of 40 yards or more in ‘09, he registered only one.
But the lockout seemed to affect the continuity and cohesion of the Tennessee line almost as much as it did Johnson. The unit, widely regarded as one of the best in the league, has not been nearly as good the past two campaigns. And the falloff has had some kind of impact, it seems, on Johnson's productivity.
That the line hasn't been quite as good, and contributed in part to Johnson's slip, is reflected by the actions of the Tennessee football operation in the offseason. The tackle tandem of Michael Roos (left) and David Stewart (right) has stayed intact. But the interior of the unit has been overhauled after a spotty 2011 performance.
Tennessee signed 11-year veteran and seven-time Pro Bowl blocker Steve Hutchinson, and installed him at left guard, and even at age 34, he is being counted on to help supply an aggressive attitude that seemed to be missing at times in 2011. Left guard Leroy Harris likely will move to the right side to replace the departed Jake Scott. And, as if to signal some questions about longtime center Eugene Amato, the Titans visited with five free agent snappers in the spring. They signed none of them, but Amano, who has vowed to retain his starting job, clearly was put on notice. As Nashville-area media outlets have noted, the interior of the line remains a work in progress in offseason practices.
The unit, which pro scouts around the league contend did not block nearly as well at "the second level" the past two seasons as in 2009, will clearly be different in its second season under line coach Bruce Matthews, who was in his first season with the franchise last year.
But with the presence of Matthews and second-year head coach Mike Munchak, two Hall of Fame guards, one would think the blocking unit would be improved.
"And it will be," said Harris, entering his third season as a starter.
Which could place the onus on Johnson in 2012. And the former first-round draft choice (2008) seems eager to accept the mantle.
"(I've) never felt better," Johnson told The Sports Xchange last month. "Whatever happened last year, well, it happened, and it's behind me."
Johnson suggested to The Tennessean that he is "still the best back in the league."
Johnson has debunked the notion that he was perhaps overused during his first two seasons in the league. But in 2008-2009, he averaged 5.3 yards per year, including 5.6 yards per attempt in his 2,000-yard campaign. The past two years, his average has fallen off to 4.2 yards, despite carrying less. But Johnson, whose rushing scores have also dropped off, to 15 the last two years after 23 his first two, has not railed about his workload, and seems to want the ball just as much as ever.
It's not unusual for a back's production to slump after a 2,000-yard season. Not counting Terrell Davis, who rushed for 2,008 yards in 1998 but then was injured for much of ‘99 (when he ran for only 211 yards), 2,000-yard backs have posted between 32-51 percent fewer yards the following season. So Johnson's slide of roughly one-third between 2009 and 2010 is not that unusual. Of the backs who stayed healthy, though – Davis never again ran for over 701 yards because of injuries – no one has rung up two consecutive "down" years.
In addition to the second-time, 2,000-yard goal, Johnson, whose total of 5,645 yards is the best mark ever for a runner in his first four NFL seasons, wants to put an end to that kind of slippage as well.
"There are people out there," he told The Tennessean, "who aren't going to give me the respect that I deserve."
With the aid of an improved offensive line, Johnson is aiming to regain that respect.
Sanchez invited Tebow to the weeklong workouts that Sanchez and his family have staged the past two offseasons at Mission Viejo High School, where Sanchez played before going to USC, the New York Daily News reported.
Tebow wasn't invited to a similar workout organized two months ago in Orlando by wide receiver Santonio Holmes that included Sanchez, Dustin Keller and Patrick Turner.
The Jets' minicamp is June 12-14. The team starts training camp July 26.
Burbank ruled just five days after the NFLPA hearing that the penalties were out of Goodell's CBA-granted authority and should be viewed as salary cap violations and not on-field misconduct. Burbank dismissed the grievance and said appeals should remain in the hands of the commissioner.
The NFLPA plans to appeal the ruling to an Appeals Panel. As defined by the CBA, the panel includes on representative from the NFLPA, NFL and an independent.
Another grievance by the same four players – Jonathan Vilma, Hargrove, Will Smith and Scott Fujita – is pending with arbitrator Shyam Das.
The team's first-round draft pick (31st overall) from Boise State is expected to compete with LeGarrette Blount for the starting job this season. Martin is considered any every-down back because of his receiving skills.
Martin, who did not participate in the Buccaneers' first round of OTAs in May because of a hamstring strain, becomes the 12th first-round pick from April's NFL draft to sign a contract.
He had skipped the team's offseason program until now, but still has three OTAs and a minicamp before the Giants break until training camp.
Umenyiora, 30, has 69.0 career regular season sacks, fourth on the Giants' all-time list.
On the injury front, cornerback Prince Amukamara (foot) has been cleared to resume individual work, while offensive tackle Will Beatty continues to battle a back injury that might sideline him until training camp. Free agent defensive tackle Shaun Rogers has been at the team's facilities learning the defense, but hasn't done on-field work while dealing with an elbow injury.
Blackmon is scheduled to appear at a hearing at 10:30 a.m. on July 24. The Jaguars report to training camp on July 27.
He was arrested Sunday morning in Stillwater, Okla., and booked at Payne County (Okla.) Jail at 10 a.m. Sunday.
Blackmon was pulled over shortly after 3 a.m. Blackmon took a breathalyzer test, and his blood-alcohol level was .24, which is three times the state's legal limit.
According to Oklahoma law, a DUI charge becomes "aggravated" when the driver has a blood-alcohol level of .15 or higher.
The seventh-year veteran played for the Cowboys in 2011 and has played in 92 career games, recording 365 tackles (271 solo), 5.0 sacks (-39.0 yards) and three interceptions