Chicago’s prime nook, who’s coming into his fourth NFL season, has not but signed a brand new cope with the staff that drafted him fiftieth general in 2020. Johnson mentioned final week on ESPN Radio’s “Keyshawn, JWill and Max” that his absence stemmed from eager to spend time together with his daughter and fundraise for his non-profit, each of which befell in his hometown of Fresno, California.
Johnson downplayed the notion that he was staying away from Halas Corridor as a result of he has not obtained a contract extension from the Bears.
“Not even shut. No,” Johnson mentioned. “Anyone who is aware of me, that is not my character. I believe on the finish of the day, for me, I would not even say holding out, simply having prior priorities. On the finish of the day, all people is aware of I’ve a 3-year-old daughter again at residence in California and I am a dad earlier than I am anything. Earlier than I am a soccer participant, earlier than I am something. I am a dad first. I do not get to spend an excessive amount of time together with her through the season as a result of she’s again at residence in California.”
The 24-year-old cornerback mentioned that he communicated to Bears coaches his need to spend time together with his daughter, who doesn’t stay with him through the season, and that “they understood and hopefully revered” his resolution.
“On the finish of the day, I’ll be there for my daughter as a result of they’ll discover one other nook,” Johnson mentioned. “My daughter cannot discover one other dad. I take delight in that.”
Johnson’s basis, Kevvy’s Imaginative and prescient, honors his finest pal, who died by gun violence in 2021. The muse held a golf outing over the weekend that was attended by Bears quarterback Justin Fields.
Bears coach Matt Eberflus praised Johnson on Wednesday for staying engaged whereas the cornerback was away from the staff. Johnson mentioned the communication “by no means stopped” with the Bears, between collaborating in staff conferences nearly and checking in together with his place coach, Jon Hoke, a number of instances all through the week.
Johnson is one in every of six Bears gamers eligible for a contract extension, a listing that additionally consists of tight finish Cole Kmet and broad receiver Darnell Mooney. The cornerback mentioned he’s not “careworn” concerning the timing of when a deal may get completed however desires to stay in Chicago long run.
“One hundred percent,” he mentioned. “I stay up for staying and lengthening with the Bears.”
Requested whether or not he’s at the moment represented by an agent, Johnson mentioned he’s “transitioning” and will likely be signing with an agent sooner or later.
Normal supervisor Ryan Poles has but to strike a cope with any Bears gamers drafted earlier than his arrival in 2022. Final yr, former Bears linebacker Roquan Smith demanded a commerce after failing to return to an settlement with the staff on a brand new deal through the offseason. Smith ended his coaching camp holdout in mid-August and performed in eight video games with Chicago earlier than being dealt to the Baltimore Ravens final November. In March, Smith signed a five-year, $100 million contract extension with the Ravens to make him the highest-paid linebacker in NFL historical past.
Johnson mentioned Smith’s state of affairs with the Bears doesn’t have any impact on his.
“His state of affairs is completely different than my state of affairs,” Johnson mentioned. “It is Roquan Smith on the finish of the day. However I am not him, he is not me. My timing is completely different than his timing. I am not too caught up in that.”
Added Johnson: “I do not really feel any kind of means. I am not going to really feel any means till a deal will get completed. Or till [it’s said that a deal] shouldn’t be being completed.”