Tennessee Titans: 30 greatest players in franchise history

(Photo by Joe Murphy/NFLPhotoLibrary)
(Photo by Joe Murphy/NFLPhotoLibrary) /
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Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

12. player. 35. . RB. (2008-13). Chris Johnson

  • 2009 NFL Offensive Player of the Year
  • First-Team All-Pro (2009)
  • 3x Pro Bowl (2008-10)
  • NFL rushing yards leader (2009)
  • NFL record for most yards from scrimmage in a season (2009)

Chris Johnson was supposed to be a day two draft pick coming out of East Carolina in 2008. He was an excellent player for the Pirates, but his blazing 4.24 40-yard dash time changed his life forever. Johnson would be the No. 24 overall pick by the Titans in the 2008 NFL Draft.

As a rookie with the Titans in 2008, Johnson rushed for 1,228 yards on 251 carries for nine touchdowns. That would be the first of six-straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons for Johnson, all coming with the Titans. Johnson made the first of three-straight Pro Bowls with the Titans as a rookie.

While Johnson was great during his rookie year in Nashville, he was simply phenomenal in his second year in the league. Johnson led the NFL in rushing with a staggering 2,006 yards on 358 carries for 14 touchdowns. He led the league in carries, yards per game with 125.4 and touches with 408.

Besides being one of a very select few tailbacks to eclipse 2,000 yards on the ground in a season, Johnson set an NFL record for most yards from scrimmage in a year with 2,509. It helped that he also had the longest rush of any player in the game that year with a 91-yard scamper for the Titans.

Johnson made his third and final Pro Bowl as a member of the 2010 Titans. He still had 1,364 yards on 316 yards and 11 touchdowns. Not bad for a guy that was a complete workhorse for the Tennessee offense during his second year in the league.

Johnson would surpass the 1,000-yard threshold in his final three years with the Titans from 2011 to 2013, but never had over 300 carries or 10 rushing touchdowns in a season again. On April 4, 2014, the Titans would release their star running back after six outstanding seasons with the club.

He signed a three-year deal with the New York Jets in 2014, but was declined his option after just one year with Gang Green. Johnson would then leave the Big Apple for the Valley of the Sun to spend his last three NFL seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. After spending most of 2018 out of the league, he announced his retirement from professional football after 10 years in the NFL on Nov. 5.

Overall, Johnson was a former NFL Offensive Player of the Year and a First-Team All-Pro with the Titans. He rushed for 7,965 yards on 1,742 carries for 50 touchdowns with the franchise. Johnson finished his strong NFL career with nearly 10,000 rushing yards at 9,651. Though absolutely electric in his first years in Nashville, Johnson is not likely going to be a Pro Football Hall of Famer. However, he is one of the best running backs the Oilers/Titans have ever had.