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Bears CB Jaylon Johnson says his absence from OTAs will end next week

Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson said his absence from the club's voluntary offseason program will come to an end next week -- and he also cleared up the reason why he was away from the team.

Johnson told ESPN Radio on Thursday that he'll "be there for sure next week" when the Bears conduct the final week of their organized team activities, having missed the past two weeks of the voluntary workouts.

Johnson added that he "had a lot of things off the field going on," which included spending time with his young daughter back in California, along with working on his nonprofit charity, Kevvy's Vision Project.

The Bears' final four OTA practices next week at Halas Hall will be the last time the team will formally meet prior to mandatory minicamp, which runs June 13 to 15. Other Bears players who have not attended the voluntary workouts include safety Eddie Jackson, new offensive guard Nate Davis and wide receiver Darnell Mooney.

Some had speculated that Johnson, who is heading into a contract year in 2023, might be holding out for contract purposes. There had been talk that negotiations between Johnson and the team on an extension might come down. So far, the two sides have not struck a deal.

Johnson told ESPN Radio that his perspective has changed considerably when it has come to his next contract.

"Honestly, for me, it used to be a lot of pressure," he said. "I would even say for me going into my third year (in 2022), I felt like that was the year for me to put myself out there to be able to have a new contract, to be able to re-up. 

"For me, it's just about going out and being who I am. I know I can be a dominant corner. I am a dominant corner in this league, following No. 1 wide receivers and just finding ways to continue to do my job at a high rate, continue to be a better teammate, continue to find ways to win."

Other fellow classmates from the Bears' 2020 draft class are also looking for extensions, including Mooney and tight end Cole Kmet. Wide receiver Chase Claypool, who was traded from the Steelers to Chicago, also is a free agent after this coming season.

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