IRVINE, Calif. (AP) Los Angeles Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson believes the team is not interested in re-signing him after failing to come to terms on a long-term contract this month.
Johnson, who will play under the franchise tag for the second straight season, went one step further by declaring it publicly after the team’s first day of training camp at UC Irvine concluded Saturday. The Rams started preparations for the upcoming season without star defensive lineman Aaron Donald, but the holdout of their top player was promptly overshadowed by Johnson’s shocking declaration.
”I believe the Rams are going a different direction at the end of the season and I can’t … it’s out of my control,” Johnson said. ”I’m here putting my jersey still on, lacing up my cleats, I’m happy. I’m here to win games. I’m here to help this team win games.”
Johnson followed up his pronouncement to reporters by taking to Twitter. ”Controlling what I can control,” Johnson wrote.
Drafted in the third round in 2012, Johnson has started 47 games over the last five seasons. He has 16 career interceptions, including a single-season high of seven in 2015, the Rams’ last year in St. Louis. That production led the Rams to use the franchise tag on Johnson over fellow free agent defensive back Janoris Jenkins, who then signed a five-year contract with the New York Giants.
Johnson intercepted only one pass last season, but the Rams again decided to use the franchise tag on him. Johnson said he wanted a deal with the Rams ”big time,” but the inability to reach an agreement left him to conclude that his upcoming season with the Rams will be his last.
”You’re smart,” Johnson said when asked to explain his reasoning behind his assertion. ”I mean, come on. That’s not me, man. I’m not worried about the end of the season. I’m here now and ready to compete.”
Johnson will compete under a new coaching staff this season, including defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. That side of the ball performed well in their first summer session, creating pressure off the edge with a new 3-4 scheme and contesting throws throughout the secondary.
”I like Wade, I like the players they brought over, and I like my teammates that I have been with here for a couple years now, a few years actually. I’m glad to be out here with this team,” Johnson said.
Johnson does not expect his uncertain future to impact his performance on the field.
”Overall, man, any player would want a long-term deal,” he said. ”I just didn’t get one. I’m not about to feel sorry for myself, be mad at it, and be selfish about it. It’s not about me, it’s about this team and winning games, and that’s what I am here for.”
Johnson made his remarks after first-year head coach Sean McVay had already held his press conference, so there was no official reaction from the Rams.
McVay said there was no update on Donald’s status, as the two-time All-Pro is seeking his own contract extension.
”Certainly we’d love to have Aaron here,” McVay said. ”That’s something that we are constantly working on to try to resolve and find a solution.”