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tk13
04-26-2005, 01:15 AM
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/11488681.htm

Pressure has Johnson's name

By ELIZABETH MERRILL The Kansas City Star

Derrick Johnson made the rounds with the general manager, his coach and a guy in a red cape with a spear on his head. With the heady stuff out of the way, it was time for the Chiefs' newest great hope to kick back Monday night, eat some chicken and hobnob with fans at a post-draft dinner.

So much for relaxing. Within five minutes, the question came up.

Derrick Johnson, are you ready to become the next Derrick Thomas?

“I just don't want that big pressure on me,” Johnson said. “He was a great player. No doubt about it. There's a small circle of those really great linebackers, and hopefully I can get in that circle someday. But right now, being a rookie, I'm just trying to get some playing time.”

Johnson, the Chiefs' first-round draft pick from Texas, understands the comparisons. He's a linebacker. Thomas was a linebacker. He went in the first round. So did Thomas. President/general manager Carl Peterson even reminded Johnson that Thomas, the Chiefs' all-time sack leader, was his first-ever draft pick in 1989.

In front of a few hundred fans at the Red Coat dinner, Johnson announced that he'll probably wear No. 56, which, in a blur, will look very much like the late Thomas' No. 58. But the man who arrived in Kansas City early Monday is far more concerned with signing a contract, making it to this weekend's rookie camp and lugging around a playbook that is about 3 inches thick.

“Oh man, I just giggled a little bit,” Johnson said about the moment he received his playbook from linebackers coach Fred Pagac on Monday. “He told me it's not as big as it looks.”

Johnson received some of the biggest ovations Monday night at an event attended by Peterson, coach Dick Vermeil, safety Sammy Knight and defensive end Carlos Hall. Knight and Hall were acquired in the offseason to boost a defense that ranked 32nd in the NFL.

At least one Chiefs fan wore Longhorn burnt orange in honor of Johnson, a 6-foot-3, 242-pound Butkus Award winner. Johnson visited Kansas City before the draft, but few of the Chiefs' coaches guessed he'd be around for the 15th pick.

Chuck Cook, the Chiefs' director of college scouting, said Monday night that they projected Johnson to be picked ninth.

“And he kept slipping and slipping,” Cook said, and the Chiefs got more and more excited.

Peterson then jokingly stopped Cook midsentence.

“Let's not pump him up too much,” Peterson said. He didn't want to pay Johnson any more money.

But Johnson didn't expect contract negotiations to be a problem. He said he isn't concerned with the money details and plans to be in training camp on time.

“The sooner the better,” he said. “The main thing is getting out there and producing.”

Johnson is scheduled to leave Kansas City today but will return Thursday for this weekend's camp. He spent late Monday signing autographs and taking questions from fans.

One of the last questions came from a guy in an Oklahoma shirt. He asked Johnson how often he'd wear his 2006 Super Bowl ring.

All the time, Johnson said.

“I think it's more of a positive pressure thing for me to have the spotlight on me,” he said. “People hold me to a higher standard sometimes, and I can live up to it.”

http://www.kansascity.com/images/kansascity/kansascitystar/news/CHIEFSDIN_041805_NG_052F.jpg
NORMAN NG/The Kansas City Star
Even though he has yet to play, Chiefs No. 1 draft pick Derrick Johnson has already been compared to legendary linebacker Derrick Thomas.

beer bacon
04-26-2005, 01:20 AM
What a great off season. First off, I can't believe how much talent we have signed this off season. Secondly, I can't believe that they almost all actually sound like good character guys. I can't believe how grounded Derrick Johnson sounds. You almost never get that from a player with his talent now and days.

Wallcrawler
04-26-2005, 01:27 AM
This is awesome.

Its great to hear that his main concern is getting into camp and learning what he has to do to take his game to the pro level.

He does have a lot of pressure on him with the DT comparisons, and thats really not fair. DT was a special, special player. Expecting this guy to compete with DT's legacy is really unfair to him. Derrick Johnson doesnt need the pressure of always being compared to Derrick Thomas, and trying to become "The Next Derrick Thomas", because its impossible, for ANY player at any time to do that.

There will NEVER be a "Next Derrick Thomas". There was only one DT, and he's gone now.


Derrick Johnson will turn into a monster linebacker in this league though, and one day, he could have a legacy similar to DT's. It sure looks like he has the attitude and mentality needed to put the work in to get to that level of player. He knows he's just a rookie, and doesnt have that big head that a lot of guys with his kind of talent have.

I cant believe we got this guy. I havent been this excited about a rookie in a long time.

DenverChief
04-26-2005, 01:41 AM
I havent been this excited about a rookie in a long time.

I haven't been this excited about an upcoming season in a long time....I mean really someone said it earlier all the players that will be coming into their own/starting for the first time plus the FA/Draft additions...Siavii, Wilson, Allen, Johnson, Surtain, Bell, Hall, Knight, Parker, Thorpe, Grigsby.....so much potential for both sides of the ball

htismaqe
04-26-2005, 06:26 AM
Comparing DJ to DT is like apples and oranges.

Derrick Johnson is more like Derrick BROOKS.

chiefmachine
04-26-2005, 06:36 AM
I'm sure if Chicago or the cards or some other shit bum team picked him up (Derrick Johnson) they would be saying, WOW what a great pick!!

htismaqe
04-26-2005, 06:40 AM
And here I thought this was another Merrill Hoge rant. :(

Who is this chick anyway? Ivan Carter's replacement?

Skip Towne
04-26-2005, 06:42 AM
This guy sounds like the real deal......oh, wait, that was Greg Hill. Seriously though, I'm tickled with him.

tomahawk kid
04-26-2005, 07:00 AM
This is awesome.

Its great to hear that his main concern is getting into camp and learning what he has to do to take his game to the pro level.

He does have a lot of pressure on him with the DT comparisons, and thats really not fair. DT was a special, special player. Expecting this guy to compete with DT's legacy is really unfair to him. Derrick Johnson doesnt need the pressure of always being compared to Derrick Thomas, and trying to become "The Next Derrick Thomas", because its impossible, for ANY player at any time to do that.

There will NEVER be a "Next Derrick Thomas". There was only one DT, and he's gone now.


Derrick Johnson will turn into a monster linebacker in this league though, and one day, he could have a legacy similar to DT's. It sure looks like he has the attitude and mentality needed to put the work in to get to that level of player. He knows he's just a rookie, and doesnt have that big head that a lot of guys with his kind of talent have.

I cant believe we got this guy. I havent been this excited about a rookie in a long time.

The DT comparisons REALLY bother me. When Carl made that statement on the radio last night, I just groaned.

The kid's got enough to worry about right now. Comparing him to a future Hall of Famer is something that he doesn't need.