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The Daily Tar Heel
From the Press Box

Top Quotes of 2009, Part I: Chris Johnson's Thomas Neumann recently did a pretty humorous bit on athletes' Top 50 Quotes of the Year for 2009.

His compilation of sounds bites was almost flawless, but noticeably absent from that list was Chris Johnson, the Pro Bowl running back for the Tennessee Titans.

Johnson is on the cusp of breaking Marshall Faulk's NFL record for yards from scrimmage (only 75 yards away), and he's only 128 rushing yards away from 2,000 rushing yards, a hallowed mark only five players have reached in NFL history.

The second-year backed from East Carolina turned heads with his speed during the 2008 NFL combine when he clocked in at a blazing 4.24 seconds for the 40-yard dash. The time was the fastest of any player at the combine.

Never short on confidence, Johnson has been far from shy with the media on his way to 1,872 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns this season.

While some of these quotations may seem a little brash, he has been able to back up pretty much all of his statements (just look at his statistics and highlights for proof). Johnson has also been instrumental in bringing life to a franchise that got off to a terrible 0-6 start, as any play he touches the ball brings a certain type of electricity to any Titans fan. After all, if he gets some space, he might just be gone for a touchdown.

And so, without further ado, here are some of his most memorable quotes of the year (full context of quotes available through links next to descriptions).

On a potential race with Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo (in an Associated Press article by Teresa M. Walker):

"When you're the fastest guy ever, that's what kind of things you get. Everyone wants to race you. Everybody wants to take out the big dog."

On his 4.24 40-yard dash time (in Lee Jenkins' article on

"After you run the 40 at the combine, they don't tell you right away what official time you got. I was sitting with the trainer and someone came up and told me I'd run a 4.24. I knew what it meant. So I just picked up my bag and left."

On giving up the nickname "Smash and Dash" he shared with Lendale White (obtained by The Tennessean's Jim Wyatt):

"Smash and Dash have had a divorce - that's official. I have to be my own guy, so no more Smash and Dash, that was last year. 'Every Coach's Dream,' that's me."

On challenging Olympic Champion Usain Bolt, who won both the 100 and 200 meter dashes in Beijing (via the Associated Press):

"I think I would beat him like in the 50 (meter dash).''

On Miami WR Ted Ginn's speed (also via the Associated Press):

"He's pretty fast. But a lot of people get it mistaken at the conference he played at. Was it the Big Ten? They're a slow conference. They don't have fast guys in that conference. It automatically makes him look like he's a real fast guy.''

On falling off the pace of breaking Erik Dickerson's single-season rushing record (in an article by Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean).

"I might have a 200- or 300-yard game. So, I'm not worried about it too much.''

(Ed's note: No running back in NFL history has rushed for 300 yards in a game - yet. We'll see what happens in the Titans next game against Seattle).

Check back tomorrow for the best quotes of the year from UNC athletes!

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