Nashville — The Titans are ready to make Chris Johnson the highest-paid running back in NFL history — all he has to do is show up at camp so they can finalize the deal.
General manager Mike Reinfeldt told The Associated Press on Thursday that Johnson’s agent was the first person they called once the NFL’s lockout was lifted. The Titans reworked Johnson’s contract a year ago to give him more money in 2010 and promised to talk to him again a year later.
But the Titans want Johnson in training camp before completing a new extension.
“Even though he has two years left on his contract, we’d like him to go in,” Reinfeldt said. “He could go to meetings, get to know the new coaches, he can learn the scheme. He doesn’t have to practice, but it’s something we want to get done.
“Again, we’re willing to make him the highest paid running back in the history of the NFL. That’s kind of where we are.”
The running back’s agent, Joel Segal, was not immediately available. The agent has declined to comment during the contract negotiations, and Johnson did not immediately respond to text messages to his cell from the AP.
But Johnson told The Tennessean he was surprised to hear that Reinfeldt said that he would make him the highest paid running back ever. Johnson said neither he nor his agent has received any offer from the Titans.
“Maybe they talked, but I guarantee we never received any offer,” Johnson told The Tennessean.
He has refused to report until he gets a new contract, though he did take part in a two-day player-organized minicamp in June.
Eagles’ Maclin undergoes more tests
Jeremy Maclin returned to his hometown of St. Louis on Thursday to undergo further testing for the mystery illness that neither the Eagles nor doctors have apparently been able to identify.
Andy Reid said Monday on WIP-AM (610) that Maclin’s trip home had been planned, although the Eagles coach did not mention it when reporters asked about the 23-year-old during his regularly scheduled Wednesday news conference.
Maclin is from Kirkwood, Mo., and still resides there with his surrogate parents, Jeff and Cindy Parres. Jeff Parres is a urologist and because he is part of the St. Louis medical community, Maclin went there for further evaluation, an Eagles spokesman said.
Maclin had been at training camp in Bethlehem, Pa., for more than a week but had yet to practice. The most he has done is participate in light conditioning drills. He recently said that he was getting better. Reid said last week that he expected the receiver to be back by the start of the season.
The Eagles visit the St. Louis Rams Sept. 11.
As each day passes and Maclin’s illness continues to be unidentified, speculation from fans continues to grow. The Eagles’ signing of receiver Steve Smith on Wednesday led some to surmise that the former Giant was brought aboard as an insurance policy in case Maclin wasn’t ready for the start of the season.
Eagles sources said the Smith acquisition had nothing to do with Maclin’s condition. Smith is coming off microfracture knee surgery and isn’t expected to be ready by the start of the season.
WR Cotchery heading to Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh — The Pittsburgh Steelers have agreed to terms with former New York Jets wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery.
The seven-year veteran was released by the Jets last week. Cotchery gives the defending AFC champions some needed depth at wide receiver behind Mike Wallace and Hines Ward.
Cotchery has 358 career receptions, but his numbers fell considerably last season in New York. He hauled in just 41 passes in 14 games in 2010, his lowest reception total since he became a starter in 2006.
Childress regrets trading for Moss
Minneapolis — Former Vikings coach Brad Childress told NFL.com that Randy Moss “walked in the locker room and vomited on it,” after he was acquired from New England last season.
Moss spent four tumultuous weeks with the Vikings before being released following an Oct. 31 loss to New England. Childress decided to release Moss without first informing owner Zygi Wilf and that played a big role in the coach being dismissed following a 31-3 loss to Green Bay on Nov. 21.
The Vikings, who had gone to the NFC title game in 2009, were 3-7 at that point.
“I should have gone up the chain,” Childress said.
“We had good guys, by and large,” Childress said, “(but Moss) walked in the locker room and vomited on it.”
Tigers’ Boesch out with thumb
Cleveland — Detroit Tigers outfielder Brennan Boesch is expected to miss a few games because of a sprained right thumb.
Boesch, one of the first-place club’s top run producers, had his thumb examined Thursday by renowned hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham. Tigers trainer Kevin Rand said an MRI revealed a second-degree sprain. He said Boesch will continue to be treated and wouldn’t give a timetable on his return to the lineup.
Rodman’s clothing to enter HOF, too
For the fashion world, it might be the biggest question since “What will Kate Middleton’s dress look like?”
What will Dennis Rodman wear to Friday night’s induction ceremony for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame?
Scott Howard-Cooper of nba.com doesn’t know the answer, but he reported Wednesday that the hall had a plan for what the Worm wore.
“For now,” Howard-Cooper wrote, “the Dennis Rodman exhibit at the Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., is dominated by one of his old Bulls warm-ups, red with black trim. By Saturday morning, if all goes according to plan, museum officials will exchange it for the gaudy clothes Rodman is expected to wear Friday night at the induction ceremony ... or early next week if the replacement outfit needs cleaning following the party ... or by Thanksgiving if it requires nuclear-powered steaming. The man knows how to celebrate.”
Rodman told the Associated Press that he would not don a dress but had some “real cool stuff to wear onstage.”