Johnson is best offensively
NEW YORK — That blur speeding away from opposing defenses and running off with The Associated Press 2009 NFL Offensive Player of the Year award is Tennessee Titan Chris Johnson.
Considered the fastest man in pro football, Johnson was uncatchable in setting a league mark for yards from scrimmage (2,509) and becoming the sixth player with a 2,000-yard (2,006 ) rushing season.
He is the first NFL player to finish with at least 2,000 yards rushing and 500 receiving (503).
That earned the second-year pro 38 1/2 votes yesterday from a nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who cover the NFL. Johnson easily beat New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, who received nine votes.
"I kind of realize what I did and I feel like I had a dream season," said Johnson, who scored 16 touchdowns (14 rushing), second to Minnesota's Adrian Peterson, and tied the NFL mark with six consecutive games rushing for at least 125 yards.
Johnson, who has run a 4.2 40 and believes he'll remain the NFL's fastest player unless a team signs Usain Bolt, has bigger dreams, too: breaking Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards, and winning the league MVP award.
"I didn't even get one vote at all (for MVP)," Johnson said. "Like the season I had, it seemed like, 'What more do they want me to do?' That just felt like rookie of the year; it's a quarterback thing I guess."
THIS TIME, SEAU SAYS HE'S PLAYED HIS LAST
Junior Seau is retiring again and looking ahead to more time on his surfboard.
The 12-time Pro Bowl linebacker, who came out of retirement to rejoin the New England Patriots in their sixth game this season, said in remarks taped for broadcast last night on Showtime that he's ending his career.
Seau played eight games for the Patriots this season, all as a backup, finishing with last Sunday's 33-14 playoff loss to Baltimore in which he made a season-high five tackles.
"That's going to be my last game," he said during the interview taped yesterday.
That was more definitive than comments earlier in the interview when he said, "I'm going to go surf. ... Whatever happens, I can say, honestly say, that that probably was my last game."
Seau first left football briefly in August 2006 after 13 seasons with San Diego and three with Miami.
"I'm not retiring. I am graduating. Today is my graduation day," he said then. "Retirement means that you'll just go ahead and live on your laurels and surf all day in Oceanside (Calif.). It ain't going to happen."
Seau, who turns 41 on Tuesday, signed with the Patriots four days later and started 14 of the 27 games he played for them over two seasons. He retired after the 2007 season, then came out of retirement for the final four games in 2008 before retiring after that season.
'SKINS TOP HOG BUGEL LEAVES AFTER 32 YEARS
Joe Bugel gave the Washington Redskins a unique identity.
For much of the NFL's history, offensive linemen were the league's ho-hum, anonymous, oversized worker bees.
Then, one day back in the 1980s, Bugel started calling his guys "the Hogs."
The Boss Hog himself retired yesterday after 32 NFL seasons, an event worthy of a grand, emotional news conference in the Redskins auditorium.
Eight of Bugel's former players were on hand, as well as one of the "Hogettes" — that's right, one of those male Redskins fans who dress in women's clothes and pig snouts. The guest of honor gave a 10-minute speech without notes that could make even the most sedate couch potato want to get up and play for him.
"Never be ashamed," said Bugel, "to look somebody in the face and tell them you love them."
Bugel said it's "tough to walk away" as the team's offensive line coach and that he was asked to stay by new coach Mike Shanahan. But Bugel turns 70 in March and is ready to spend time with his family.
"It's time for the Bugels to go in a different direction," Bugel said. "I don't know how long the Lord's going to keep me around, but I've got two real nice places. I'm anxious to see my house out (in Phoenix) — I know my wife redecorated it. ... We're going to live the good life."
Cardinals: Arizona wide receiver Anquan Boldin (left ankle and knee injuries) and linebacker Gerald Hayes (right ankle injury) did not practice yesterday. Coach Ken Whisenhunt says both players are getting better but whether they play in Saturday's NFC playoff game against New Orleans will be a game-day decision.
Chiefs: Romeo Crennel has agreed to become defensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs. Crennel's agent, Joe Linta, said yesterday that Crennel, who has been out of football for a year recovering from hip surgery, will start his new job in a "couple of weeks." He will join the Chiefs, linking up with his old friend, and offensive coordinator, Charlie Weis.
Jets: New York offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer reportedly has turned down the Buffalo Bills' request to interview him for their vacant head coaching job. ESPN.com, citing anonymous sources, reported yesterday that Schottenheimer has told the Bills he does not want to talk to them about the position.