JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Newly signed Jaguars receiver Kevin Johnson missed practice while he got his physical Thursday, making
it "unlikely'' he will play Sunday against the Titans, coach Jack Del Rio said.
Nevertheless, the Jaguars were happy to have him and, based on
some of his comments as he was leaving Cleveland, Johnson was glad
to be leaving the Browns.
"I'm getting on a plane and never looking back," he told
reporters in Cleveland on Wednesday, the day after he was
surprisingly cut by the Browns.
The Jaguars didn't make Johnson available for interviews
Thursday, but Del Rio said he met with him briefly.
"I encouraged him that the sooner he puts that behind him and
starts focusing on being a Jaguar, the better," Del Rio said.
Clearly, though, there is bitterness. Johnson was the team's
leading receiver this season (41 catches, 381 yards), when coach
Butch Davis benched him last week, then subsequently cut him.
Johnson explained to reporters in Cleveland that he felt Browns
quarterback Kelly Holcomb and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians
had it in for him and hastened his departure.
"Obviously, Bruce and myself never had a great relationship,
and Kelly's his guy," Johnson said. "I've been fighting that
battle for three years -- and he's won."
Davis accused Johnson of being selfish and giving less than full
effort. Browns president Carmen Policy said Johnson's reaction to
being benched gave him a "bad vibe." So bad, in fact, that the
Browns were willing to dismiss someone to whom they had committed $3.5 million in a signing bonus before the 2002 season.
But if there's a stigma attached to Johnson, few other NFL teams
were too worried about it. No fewer than 16 teams reportedly put
waivers claims in for the receiver. The Jaguars got him because
they had the worst record of the teams.
Del Rio said he knows several people inside the Browns
organization, and all of them encouraged the Jaguars to sign the
"They just felt he needed a fresh start and he'd be a good guy
for us," Del Rio said.
Jaguars receiver Jimmy Smith was happy about the signing.
Smith has had trouble getting open since the Jaguars parted with
Keenan McCardell after the 2001 season. Smith (26 receptions) and
Troy Edwards (20) are the two most productive receivers on the
team, each despite missing all of September.
"He's a playmaker and every team can always use another
playmaker," Smith said of Johnson. "He's a hot commodity right
now, so I'm glad he's here."