The viral videos came pouring in after the Philadelphia Eagles traded for Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. There was one of C.J. — his preferred first name — mocking Tarik Cohen’s height. Another more animated one shows him getting into the face of Mike Evans.
And then the grand poobah of trash-talking clips: Javon Mims cold-cocking him in the head. Whatever words were said to elicit a punch aren’t decipherable. Yes, Gardner-Johnson fancies himself a trash talker. And an irritatingly good one, arguably the best in the business, and he makes no apologies about it.
“It’s football, you talk trash it’s the nature of the game, you go back and forth but at the end of the day, it’s not harmful,” Gardner-Johnson told reporters. “Because at the end of the day you still gotta see each other, you still gotta meet each other, greet each other, some of these people see each other at the Pro Bowl and talking trash or whatever, but it don’t matter. Everybody knows it’s a sport, everybody know you don’t mean no harm when you’re talking on the field, it’s all within the competitive nature.”
Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni believes in nurturing competitive fire. It means you care. That jives with Gardner-Johnson’s mindset — lock, stock, and two NSFW barrels.
“When the game gets down to a heated situation your competitive nature just comes out, it shows you who really loves the game of football,” Gardner-Johnson said. “And if you’re not passionate about what you do, then why are you here?
“Why are you on the field in between those lines? I think the passion and fire I bring to the team, it’s something that’s not coached, you gotta love it. If you don’t love it then I don’t know, I can’t tell you nothing about it.”
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Not Worried About Contract Situation
One of the reasons why Gardner-Johnson became available was due to his uncertain contract situation. The 24-year-old is in the final year of his rookie deal and looking for an extension. New Orleans wasn’t ready to give it to him. Philadelphia presumably is, or at least the talks with Howie Roseman thus far have been productive.
“Me and Howie talked. We know where we stand,” Gardner-Johnson said, “I’m just going to go out there and play football, have fun, and everything will take care of itself.”
What is the market for a hybrid defensive back who starts at safety and fills in at nickel corner? Pro Football Focus put it at $24.75 million over three years ($8.25 million annually), with $14 million in total guaranteed money.
Passionate Player, Ready to Give 110%
“I’m a football player, throw me out there,” he said. “You can put me at corner, safety, nickel, linebacker — whatever coach need me at I’m at, 110%, just ready to play football and help the team win and win the division.”
The Florida native was also quizzed on what he knew about Philadelphia. He mentioned passion multiple times, although he’s still learning the city’s food staples.
“Philly cheesesteaks? That here? OK that,” Gardner-Johnson said. “What I know is the city’s passionate and they got a passionate guy. I’m going to back this team as much as they back me up and go 110%.”