Can’t Nobody Touch Me

Chris Johnson on battling Adrian Peterson for history, and why he's the best back in the NFL
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GREG BEDARD: After seeing what Adrian Peterson did last year, returning from ACL surgery and rushing for 2,097 yards, and after seeing the investment Tennessee made in its offensive line to become a run-first team, do you envision yourself and Peterson getting into a McGwire-Sosa-like battle to challenge Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards?

CHRIS JOHNSON: That would be real fun. What a lot of people don’t understand is, I rushed for almost 1,300 yards last year with two or three different offensive lines starting every other week. I overcame a lot of things, and I still was able to be a top player and an elite back. By beefing up this line and putting players around me, and going back to a running offense—we were basically a passing offense last year—that will be a cool thing.

BEDARD: Who’s the best back in the game, and why?

JOHNSON: Myself. I can do so many things, I can bring so many things to the team. The thing about it, I didn’t just rush for 2,000 yards [in 2009]—I also had 50 catches and more than 500 receiving yards. So I actually broke the yards-from-scrimmage record. There’s nobody in the league that has done that to this point.

BEDARD: Did you try to do too much last year?

JOHNSON: At the end of the day I’m a playmaker, so I’m going to try to make plays. So as far as doing too much, I don’t think so. Somebody has a Barry Sanders way—"He’s doing too much..."—no, he’s just trying to make a play. Any time you’re the playmaker on a team, you have to make things happen. The wins and losses are going to be put on your shoulders. I’ll never be a guy that just gives up on a play.

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