FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Chris Johnson will have to wait a little while longer to get on the field with his new Jets teammates.
The running back, who signed with New York in April, said his surgically repaired right knee is feeling “good,” but will likely keep him from participating in organized team activities the next few weeks.
“I think they’re going to hold me out of OTAs and just continue to let me rehab until I get 100 percent,” Johnson said Thursday during the team’s first open media session this offseason. “I have time on my side and will just be ready for (training) camp.”
Johnson started running straight ahead this week and said he’s “close to 100 percent.” He’ll continue to rehabilitate the knee when the Jets begin OTAs next week.
“I’m feeling good right now,” Johnson said. “Getting better and better every day.”
Johnson, who spent his first six seasons with Tennessee, finished with 1,077 yards — the second-lowest total of his career — and a career-worst 3.9-yard average last year. He also rushed for 100 or more yards just twice.
There are questions whether he will ever be the same type of player he was when he ran for 2,006 yards in 2009 and earned his “CJ2K” nickname. He drew little interest after he was cut by Tennessee, which opted to not pay the $8 million Johnson was due for this season, along with the final three seasons left on the $53.5 million contract he signed in September 2011.
He signed a two-year, $8 million deal with the Jets, the first and only team he visited.
“Yeah, I think I needed a fresh start after being with Tennessee for so long,” he said. “Sometimes a fresh start is good for players and I feel like that was something that I needed.”
Once he’s healthy, it’s uncertain exactly how the Jets will use Johnson in a backfield that also includes Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell, Mike Goodson and Alex Green. It’s expected that New York could use him as a pass-catching threat who also adds a speedy, big-play presence.
“Some of the types of things from talking with coaches, it’s going to be very interesting this year getting me in space a lot and just putting me in position to help this team win,” Johnson said.
Johnson, who turns 29 in September, acknowledged he “most definitely” is looking forward to the Jets’ game at Tennessee on Dec. 14. He also thinks he has plenty of years left to play despite rolling up nearly 8,000 yards rushing during his career.
“I feel like only the league can kick me out of the league,” he said. ‘I’m going to continue playing as long as somebody will pick me up. I’m going to keep playing.”