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Chiefs and Linebacker Derrick Johnson Going Separate Ways

On Tuesday the Kansas City Chiefs announced they are not planning to re-sign veteran linebacker Derrick Johnson. As of March 14, when the new NFL year begins, Johnson becomes a free agent. He told reporters that he was playing to play a number of years more.

Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said few players meant to the team and community what Derrick Johnson has.

Hunt praised Johnson’s work ethic and his passion for football. It’s that passion that helped make him one of the most productive defensive players to play for Kansas City.

Hunt added that Johnson was one of the team’s and league’s most respected players. Adding that for the past 13 seasons Johnson represented both himself and the organization with class and integrity.

Last season, Johnson’s playing time was lost to younger linebackers the Chiefs acquired, including Kevin Pierre-Louis and Reggie Ragland.

Johnson responded by saying he was grateful he had the opportunity to play 13 seasons in a place he loves. However, he is planning on playing more seasons in the NFL because of the love he has for the game. He added that he looks forward to one day retiring as a Kansas City Chief when he ends his career.

Johnson, who is 35, was a 2005 first round pick in the NFL draft. He was the longest tenured player for the Chiefs together with Dustin Colquitt, who was chosen as a punter during the same draft but two rounds after Johnson.


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Johnson played under five different head coaches as well as four different general managers during his time with the team. His presence at inside linebacker was unequal during his best seasons, as he was equally adept to defend the run or pass and was chosen to four Pro Bowls and in 2011 was first-team All-Pro.

Torn Achilles tendons twice curtailed his season including in the opening game of the 2014 season and late during the 2016 season.


Current GM of the Chiefs Brett Veach said the team would miss Johnson and that letting him go was tough, but wished the player and person nothing but the best.




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