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Rams' CB Johnson surprises coaches with no-show

5/30/2017 10:58:00 PM
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Another OTA came for the Los Angeles Rams, and another big-time defensive player was absent.

Last week, All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald was AWOL from a full workout and the team acknowledged it was contract related. Donald is entering the fourth season of his original rookie contract - the Rams have already picked up his fifth-year option for 2017 - but there is incentive from both the player and the team to cement the relationship on a long-term deal. But it until that officially happens, it looks like Donald will remain away from OTAs.

That was the case when the Rams gathered on Tuesday. And it was expected.

What wasn't expected - at least from the team's perspective - was cornerback Trumaine Johnson not participating.

The standout defender played last season under the franchise tag and is currently under the same distinction for this season. But it appears both sides are interested in making it a longer relationship, although long-term contract talks were put off in March until OTAs as both Johnson and a new coaching staff contemplated the mutual fit.

It appeared everyone was on the same page.

Then Tuesday rolled around and, lo and behold, Johnson was nowhere to be found.

And that caught the Rams off guard.

"We weren't expecting him not to be here, but I'm sure that we'll find that out," head coach Sean McVay said. "He's done a great job communicating with us, but I'm not really sure where he was today."

McVay didn't seem upset.

"I wouldn't say that (I'm upset). It is voluntary, and I think you feel good about the way the guys have been competing out here," McVay said.

On the other hand, McVay did seem perplexed by Johnson's absence.

"Trumaine's been excellent this offseason program. Certainly, it was one of those things ... you get out on the field and maybe there's something that's happened since then. So, I don't have my phone on me, but it is voluntary and I think that's something that's important for us to remember," McVay said. "Certainly, you like it when all of your guys are here, but I thought the guys that stepped up in his absence today, did a nice job competing. You saw good things from (cornerback) E.J. Gaines, (cornerback) Nickell (Robey-Coleman), so that's the thing you like about your secondary with the depth that we do have.

"It's a situation where I continue to remind people that it is voluntary. We're not sure where Trumaine was today, but it is voluntary. Guys that stepped up in his absence did an excellent job. I'm sure we'll find out specifically because he's done a great job this offseason communicating and being here every day. I'm sure we'll find out a little bit more moving forward."

In the whole scheme of things, it may not amount to much. Even if Johnson doesn't get a new long-term contract, he's due $16.742 million for 2017 which is the most for any NFL cornerback.

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