Chris Johnson came to the Arizona Cardinals with no assurances about what role he will play, and he says “that’s cool with me.”
After surviving a shooting five months ago, he’s just glad to be back playing in the NFL.
“When he first called me and we talked, I told B.A. (coach Bruce Arians), ‘I don’t want you to promise me anything or anything like that,’ ” Johnson said on Tuesday before his first practice with his new team. “ ‘I’m willing to come in and work for whatever my role is and whatever y’all need me to do.’ ”
The three-time Pro Bowl player signed a one-year contract with the Cardinals on Monday.
Although he still has the bullet inside him, Johnson has recovered from a gunshot wound to the shoulder. He was injured in the early morning hours of March 8 when someone opened fire on a van in which he was riding in his hometown of Orlando, Florida. The driver of the van was killed and another passenger injured.
Johnson said that after the shooting he had bed rest for six weeks and lost 25 pounds.
“I just prayed a lot,” he said. “I grew up in the church so I just prayed a lot, and working out helped me out a lot.”
“Of course it changed how you look at life,” he said of the shooting. “Sometimes you just got to live life and not worry about those things so much. Getting a chance to play in the NFL makes it better. I’m just ready to start playing football.”
Johnson rushed for 663 yards with the New York Jets last year after topping 1,000 yards on the ground in each of his first six NFL seasons, all with the Tennessee Titans.
Mariota throws first pick
Marcus Mariota’s streak of passes at Titans training camp without being intercepted finally is over. Linebacker Zach Brown picked off the rookie quarterback, though he needed a little help to pull in the pick.
Linebacker Avery Williamson tipped Mariota’s pass in a 2-minute drill, then safety Da’Norris Searcy tipped the ball before Brown pulled in the Heisman Trophy winner’s 231st pass of training camp through seven-on-seven and team drills.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt joked that now the streak is over the Titans can see about finding another quarterback and possibly bench Mariota, the No. 2 pick overall out of Oregon.
“I’m glad it’s over, so you guys will quit talking about it,” Whisenhunt said. “It’s pretty incredible that it went this long, but he’s still continuing to progress and having a good camp. I’m excited about seeing him play this Sunday.”
Mariota was intercepted on his third pass of his preseason debut last week in Atlanta. He credited this streak in camp to teammates being in the right spots.
The NFL suspended San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jerome Simpson without pay for the first six games of the season for violations of the league’s substance-abuse policy.
The 49ers were aware of a likely suspension for Simpson for previous issues, but nothing that is known to have occurred since he joined the 49ers on a two-year deal as a free agent in March.
Hearing still on
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and commissioner Roger Goodell met to discuss settling the “Deflategate” legal case but were unsuccessful, two people familiar with the case told the AP.
The failure to strike a deal after about four hours of talks means a hearing today will proceed as scheduled.
Around the league
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will make his preseason debut Saturday night at Houston. Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said that Manning “will play quite a bit.”… Bills running back LeSean McCoy hurt his left hamstring during a joint practice with Cleveland and is having tests to determine the extent of the injury. … The 49ers traded tight end Asante Cleveland to the Patriots for offensive lineman Jordan Devey.
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