Excerpts from a conference call with Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson, who signed a two-year deal on Tuesday to stay in Carolina.
Q: Were other teams interested and what led you to ultimately stay in Carolina?
CJ: There was a couple teams, I’m not going to mention their names, but my decision was always to stick with my team. I love the place that I’m in. I love what I do, where I’m at. The coaches have always showed me love and loyalty. I just love playing for the team and the city.
Q: Do you want this contract to be your last?
CJ: If I ball out for two more years, I’m coming back to the table (laughs).
Q: Why does loyalty mean so much to you?
CJ: It’s just amazing to see the support I’ve had through the city of Charlotte, through the organization, the people I’ve met over the years. It just makes me so grateful to be in this organization because people show so much appreciation to me and I show the respect back. I just love this organization.
Q: How confident are you that missing the playoffs in 2016 was just a one-year blip?
CJ: I don’t know. We don’t know what’s going to happen now. It’s a long process ahead, I’m just glad I’m with a team to be in that process.
Q: Why didn’t you test the market like you did last year?
CJ: Me and (general manager Dave) Gettleman already had an agreement, kind of. If I be consistent, if I do what I need to do, they would kind of guarantee that I would stay home. I just like proving myself to this organization. I couldn’t see myself trying to do that nowhere else. My passion is here, so I’m going to stay where my passion and my loyalty are at.
Q: How excited are you that they’re keeping the bulk of the defensive line together?
CJ: I’m super pumped. That’s all my guys. Like I tell Gettleman and I tell (assistant general manager) Brandon Beane, just keep stacking the D-Line, keeping bringing in people for the D-line. I’ll even root for them to bring Pep back. If they can bring Julius (Peppers) back, I’m all for it.
Q: Have you started making a pitch to get Julius back here?
CJ: I haven’t yet, but I’m going to start recruiting him.
Q: Because you know how close Julius came to coming back a few years ago, how tempted do you think he is to make it happen this time?
CJ: It’s just a personal opinion as a friend of his — I just want to see him retire as a Panther. I just think him coming back for a year and retiring as a Panther, what better career for him to have than to retire at his home?
Q: What will your goals be from an individual standpoint these next two years?
CJ: I’m just going to give it my all. I’m going to give it my everything, just max out on my opportunity. I’m just living it right now. I’m doing what I love doing and I’m doing it with the team I love, so my day-to-day process is kind of easy.
Q: How nice is it to stay in Charlotte where you’ve planted so many roots in the community?
CJ: It’s a blessing to be in one place your whole career and to see not only myself grow but to see this city grow and to see the organization grow. To see the culture change and to see everything change, it’s just all a blessing.
Q: Any update on the restaurant?
CJ: We’ve got like eight more weeks on a permit and hopefully we can start this nine-month process of building. I don’t know why the process is so slow in North Carolina and Charlotte, but it’s all good.