THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- After missing last week's segment of the voluntary off-season program -- with no official reason offered -- cornerback Trumaine Johnson was back on the field Monday as the Los Angeles Rams began their final phase of OTAs.
Johnson told the media he was absent last week because of a personal issue "that I needed to take care of."
And while that's understandable, the fact he didn't relay that to the Rams before skipping out caused headlines and confusion that would not have been an issue had he simply picked up the phone to let them know beforehand.
It's a lesson Johnson obviously learned.
"I understand it's a distraction," Johnson said. "I've got to do a better job of communicating with them. (Head coach Sean) McVay reached out to me. Everybody reached out to me. It was just a personal situation, and I reached them right back."
The lack of communication was the biggest issue. These are voluntary workouts, but it's strongly implied they're mandatory. And when a player is missing -- with no explanation -- it causes a stir.
"As a coach, you're always going to want the guys here," McVay said. "But you also understand the framework of the way this stuff is set up in the off-season program.
"I think the guys have done a good job of understanding ... and we're flexible with these guys as well. All things being equal, you would love to say, 'Let's get everybody here so that we can get all the work that you want, and you guys aren't missing out on any information that's given out.'"
The fact Johnson was back Monday is a good sign if contract issues were a concern.
Johnson, as of right now, will play next season on a franchise tag for $16.7 million. But he prefers a long-term contract, and there was a question whether his absence last week was in protest of a deal not coming to fruition yet.
Johnson said he is dealing with the contract issue.
"Right now, I'm happy to be here and playing ball," Johnson said. "I'm controlling what I can control, and when that contract stuff comes up, I'll handle it."
The Rams have also expressed a willingness to lock up Johnson long term but have also said they're taking a wait-and-see approach to confirm he is a good fit for the defensive scheme under new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
Johnson said he can play in any system.
"I'm a complete corner," Johnson said. "I can play man. I can play off. I can play zone. I can play waterboy. I can play anything y'all want me to play, man. This is my sixth year. I'm not a rookie."