CJ Gardner-Johnson is a known nuisance. And his brand of ridiculousness was on display on November 1 when his tactics provoked Javon Wims to punch him in the helmet after a third-quarter play, leading to Wims being ejected.
And when Gardner-Johnson tweeted this …
He coming to the city ✅
— Ceedy Duce. (@CGJXXIII) January 4, 2021
… we should’ve known something was up. And for what it’s worth, Bears coaches also had that same thought.
But it’s clear that their attempts to get ahead of it didn’t work. Because for the second time in as many games, Gardner-Johnson’s grating brand led directly to a Bears receiver getting ejected:
Matt Nagy said the Bears took precious time out of their days during the week to show clips of Saints DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson in order to reinforce that’s he’s a huge instigator and to warn players not to take the bait. Anthony Miller didn’t get the memo.
— Jeff Dickerson (@DickersonESPN) January 11, 2021
People who have punched C.J. Gardner-Johnson this season:
•Anthony Miller pic.twitter.com/6KL6InZBox
— Amie Just (@Amie_Just) January 10, 2021
That Miller got caught up in Gardner-Johnson’s cross-hairs is equal parts embarrassing and unacceptable. Having that happen once is bad. But twice? Nah … that can’t happen. I’m not sure what’s worse: That the Bears had to spend time during practice week driving home that Gardner-Johnson’s instigator style wasn’t worth engaging or that Miller didn’t listen. In any case, it’s flat-out unacceptable.
Miller is a talented player who climbed the ladder from Memphis walk-on to All-American in college. But we’re three years into a career filled with inconsistency and uneven play. That he lost his starting gig to a rookie fifth-round pick shows how he hasn’t yet lived up to his potential. It’s probably way too early to travel this line of thinking, but when you’re a player who’s not performing and not listening to coaches, what’s your future with this team? Wims was lucky to not be made an example in November. I’m not sure Miller should (or even can) avoid that fate.