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Chris Johnson on Cardinals: ‘They want me back and I want to be back’

Arizona Cardinals running back Chris Johnson (23) is hit by Baltimore Ravens strong safety Will Hill (33) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 26, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

It seems like forever since we saw Chris Johnson carry the football for the Arizona Cardinals.

Johnson injured his knee in a Week 11 win at San Francisco, and missed the rest of the season. Rookie David Johnson’s emergence also made Chris Johnson, who ran for 814 yards before the injury, a bit of an afterthought as the Cardinals advanced all the way to the NFC Championship Game.

Johnson inked a one-year deal in the middle of training camp and is now about to enter free agency once again. After experiencing a bit of a career resurgence in 2015, the running back made his feelings about his future known.

“They want me back and I want to be back,” Johnson said on Sirius/XM NFL Radio Tuesday night. “You know how the business side goes, though. Everything’s got to be right for both parties and I can’t wait to get back out there.”

Johnson took over the starting job early in the season after Andre Ellington went down with an injury, and the veteran made the most of his opportunities. Johnson had four 100-yard games, including a season-high 122 yards rushing in a 26-18 Monday night win over Baltimore in Week 7.

After getting released by the Jets last February, Johnson signed for $870,000 in Arizona. But how would the finances look if he were to come back to the desert for a second season?

According to Johnson, that contract might be more affordable than you think.

“At this point of my career, I’m not really chasing the money,” Johnson said. “I can’t say I was ever really chasing the money. But you know, when you’re a young guy in this league, you want to take care of your family and this and that, you want the highest deal that you can get possible.

“But I feel like at this point in time in my career, I want to get the best deal, but at the same time, I want to be somewhere where I have a chance to win. I feel like Arizona is the best place for me right now and when 31 other teams wouldn’t give me an opportunity, they gave me an opportunity. I’m a very loyal guy and my loyalty is with them.”

David Johnson, who ran for 442 yards and four touchdowns on 90 carries in the last five regular season games, will be the starter in 2016. But a Johnson and Johnson combination could be an interesting and productive proposition for the Cardinals, who could choose to distance themselves from the often-injured Ellington.

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