GLENDALE, Ariz. — Sitting in front of his locker with the Hall of Fame Game just days away, Chris Johnson was asked if he thinks about his own chances of landing in Canton one day.
“Yeah, of course,” he said. “Any time you’re a player of my caliber and the things I’ve done in this league and stuff like that, you always look at the guys that go in before you and see the type of things that they have done and what’s your chances.
“Just by me continuing to play year after year and putting out numbers, of course I always think about those things.”
Probed to assess his own chances, Johnson said he thinks he could do it, though he admits he’s unsure of what qualifications he will need in order to be recognized.
“I’m pretty sure once I’m done playing they’ll get into the qualities and stuff like that,” he said. “But I think I’ve got a good enough resume to be a Hall of Famer.”
Of course, it will not be up to Johnson to decide.
As of now, the 31-year-old’s 9,537 career rushing yards rank him 32nd overall, and of the 31 backs ahead of him, 16 are in the Hall of Fame while a few more are either still playing or not yet eligible for enshrinement. He is, however, one of just seven players to run for more than 2,000 yards in a single season, and all but one of the other six — Jamal Lewis — has their bust up for display.
Johnson said he is pretty sure eclipsing 10,000 career yards would give him a good chance at joining them, as adding that to some of his other accomplishments and records would show how impressive his career truly was.
That discussion will be for when Johnson walks away from the game. Until then he will continue to make his case in hopes of one day being able to accomplish a goal he has had since entering the league as a first-round pick in 2008.
“In the league, that was one of my No. 1 goals, was once I get done playing this game I want to look up and get that jacket,” he said.
Back on the field
Sticking with Chris Johnson, the running back has not played in a football game since Oct. 2, 2016, when a groin injury sent him to injured reserve and ended his season.
With that you might think he would be excited for Thursday’s preseason opener, as it represents the first chance for him to get some game action in roughly 10 months.
“At the end of the day it’s preseason or whatever,” Johnson said Tuesday. “Still got to take it for what it is.”
Preseason games of course do not count in the standings, and with Johnson entering his 10th NFL season, any allure the exhibition contests may have once had is understandably gone. That’s not to say he does not respect the outings or what they offer, rather he just does not really get up for the games themselves.
“It’s basically a situation where you’re getting ready for the first game of the season and it’s always steps toward it,” he said. “It starts with offseason workouts, OTAs and training camp and it goes to preseason games. So it’s just all the steps leading up to getting ready for the first game of the season.”
While Johnson is not likely to see a ton of action Thursday in the first of five preseason games the Cardinals will play, any carries he gets will represent another step forward for a player who says things have been going well for him since signing with the team just before training camp began.
Currently fourth in rushing yards among active players (though No. 3, Steven Jackson, did not play last season and is not on an NFL roster), Johnson is hopeful he will have a large role for the Cardinals this season even while the offense is built around fellow running back David Johnson.
“And help this team reach the goals that we’re trying to get to,” he said. “It’s a situation, just got to keep working hard and preparing myself to get ready and just see how it plays out.”
Comfortable on the left
D.J. Humphries is a starter, and therefore does not figure to get any action in Thursday’s game. So, anyone hoping to see how he is looking as the team’s No. 1 left tackle will have to wait.
When he does finally get on the field for a game Humphries is confident he will show off improved play that comes from, at least in part, his comfort on the left side.
“It’s definitely different to be able to just kind of work on my craft and get in there and get after it a little bit versus trying to think about every little thing that I’m doing,” he said. “So it’s fun to be able to get out there and compete. Every day going back and forth with Chandler (Jones) and Markus (Golden), when you can actually compete and get out there and show your best hand, it’s definitely fun.”
A left tackle in college, Humphries learned right tackle with the Cardinals and started the first 10 games at the position before moving to the left side in Week 11. He fared well enough in two-plus games at the position (a concussion ended his season early) to convince the coaches that he, and not Jared Veldheer, should man the spot going forward.
Compared to where he was last season, it’s a welcome change.
“At this point in the camp it was a lot of thinking going on, a lot of trying to figure it out, a lot of stuff happening on the fly,” Humphries said of how he felt last year. “Right now it’s a lot slower, it’s a lot slower for me and things are going pretty well.”
Jarvis is back
One of the team’s more underrated offseason acquisitions, Jarvis Jones was with the Cardinals for all of the offseason work but missed the first week of training camp due to a quad issue.
He returned over the weekend, however, and on Tuesday said he is trying to get into the groove of things while trying to find his fit in the defense.
“It was kind of tough,” he said of missing the time. “I’m playing catch up now; guys are in better shape than I am right now. I kind of got behind the ball in physical conditioning, but the mental part is still there for me. Been taking a lot of mental notes, and now I’m just trying to transfer it to the field and get better on the physical side.”
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