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View Full Version : Chiefs Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson weathers personal storm


Shogun
11-11-2010, 02:49 PM
His quiet, humble spirit has helped make Derrick Johnson a rich man.

Instead of seething when Kansas City coach Todd Haley benched him last year, Johnson hunkered down and worked harder than he'd ever worked in his life.

Going all the way back to the playgrounds of Waco, the former star linebacker at Texas could not remember a time when he was not only a starter, but also just about the best player on his team. Now the Chiefs were using him only in certain situations and seemed to be saying that the team's new coaching staff did not see him as a player they wanted to build around.

Faced with being humbled for the first time in what had always been a charmed life, a lot of athletes would rebel. Johnson, after all, had been the national defensive player of the year when the Chiefs drafted him in the first round in 2005.

But heeding lessons he learned growing up in a stern but loving home, Johnson kept his mouth shut. He tried to maintain a positive attitude. He never complained, never grumbled.

Now he leads the Chiefs with 79 tackles and the ink is drying on a five-year contract extension that could be worth as much as $34 million. Once again, he's a star player on a winning team.

Instead of saying, 'Hi, mom,' when cameras catch him on the sideline, Johnson would probably say, 'Thanks, mom!'

''She taught me to stay humble. Believe in God. Know that something good will happen if you just keep working hard. It paid off for me,'' Johnson said Wednesday with a big smile.

A sixth-grade math teacher, Beverly Johnson was not a mom to be trifled with.

''She instilled a lot of education and a lot of discipline,'' said Johnson. ''She was really strict on me when I was a kid. I got to know right from wrong. She's a big part of why my character is strong now.''

For Haley and what he calls his ''transitioning'' football team, Johnson brings a bonus - something besides outstanding plays such as tying an NFL record last year by returning two interceptions for touchdowns against Denver.

He is also living proof of what can happen when a player buys into what the Chiefs are selling. Work hard, hang tough, accept discipline and the opportunities on this team are limitless.

It's something Haley steps gingerly around.

''As we go through this process there are going to be guys, that it becomes clear to us that are the right kinds of guys,'' Haley said. ''And at the same time, it becomes clear to players that maybe, 'This is where I want to be. This is the way I want to do things, and I want to be a part of this.'''

Haley never indicated why Johnson was not starting.

''All I saw was a player that pushed his chips in and made it clear he wanted to be part of this and wasn't going to be denied,'' he said. ''The more guys you have like that who are doing that, who are willing to push them all in and say, 'Let's do this,' the better chance you have. And we're getting more and more, and that's a real good thing for the Kansas City Chiefs.''

Johnson acknowledges he had to work to fend off despair during his long season of 2009.

''I didn't have it all planned out how it was gong to happen. I left that up to God,'' he said. ''But at the same time, I knew that it was in my best interest to just keep working. Stay humble. Doing the right thing is going to pay off, sooner or later.''

He also decided that pride, a great motivator in the right situation, can also be a problem.

''In this league, your pride's got to go out the window. I'd be the first to say that. Everybody's good in this league and just because you're not out there, the train keeps rolling. You've got to either jump on board or get off. And I jumped on.''

His teammates are glad.

''With Derrick playing the way he's playing, it's going to be hard to score points against us,'' said cornerback Brandon Flowers. ''He's the playmaker of this defense, running game and passing game. He's our 'X' factor. He's the one defensive coordinators have to prepare for.''

Pretty cool to see Brandon Flowers comments on him.

Mr. Kotter
11-11-2010, 03:01 PM
Very, very cool. I don't think DJ will pull an LJ either....and kick-back now that he's set.

Flowers, DJ, Berry, and an improving DLine could be the heart of a solid defense for a long time.

Great story, good man. :thumb:

Fritz88
11-11-2010, 03:05 PM
Horrible move we should have traded him for a second.

BCD
11-11-2010, 03:07 PM
Horrible move we should have traded him for a second.You're joking, right?

Pants
11-11-2010, 03:08 PM
You're joking, right?

No, he's completely serious. :facepalm:

BCD
11-11-2010, 03:12 PM
No, he's completely serious. :facepalm:Well, then someone should cock-punch him.

Pants
11-11-2010, 03:13 PM
Well, then someone should cock-punch him.

LOL

I was kidding. He was obviously kidding as well.

Rooster
11-11-2010, 03:13 PM
Well, then someone should cock-punch him.

ROFL :$2500:

Fritz88
11-11-2010, 03:16 PM
LOL

I was kidding. He was obviously kidding as well.

I wasn't kidding actually. I don't think he will be productive. 5 years of mediocrity can't be undone after 6 games.

BigRedChief
11-11-2010, 03:27 PM
I wasn't kidding actually. I don't think he will be productive. 5 years of mediocrity can't be undone after 6 games.Mediocrity caused by (as the article points out) his personal demons. Which by all accounts he has finally put behind him.

Pants
11-11-2010, 03:29 PM
I wasn't kidding actually. I don't think he will be productive. 5 years of mediocrity can't be undone after 6 games.

My apologies to BCD, then. You need to be cock-punched in the face. Repeatedly.

Chieftain58
11-11-2010, 03:31 PM
I wasn't kidding actually. I don't think he will be productive. 5 years of mediocrity can't be undone after 6 games.

Go back to sleep Fritzy!

BCD
11-11-2010, 03:36 PM
My apologies to BCD, then. You need to be cock-punched in the face. Repeatedly.ROFL

2bikemike
11-11-2010, 03:45 PM
IMHO DJ is the epitomy of how truly fugged up the old coaching staff was. Thank You freaking Herm Edwards.

Rooster
11-11-2010, 04:00 PM
IMHO DJ is the epitomy of how truly fugged up the old coaching staff was. Thank You freaking Herm Edwards.

Don't forget Vermeil's crack defensive staff.

2bikemike
11-11-2010, 04:46 PM
Don't forget Vermeil's crack defensive staff.

Yep neither one was worth a damn. At least with Vemeil we had an offense that tempered the horrible defense. With Herm the whole shebang was pathetic.

LaChapelle
11-11-2010, 04:51 PM
I never thought
Don't let the storm door hit you on your ass on the way out
as meaning a personal storm

Brock
11-11-2010, 05:14 PM
I wasn't kidding actually. I don't think he will be productive. 5 years of mediocrity can't be undone after 6 games.

It can be if the mediocrity is caused by inconsistency, which IMO has always been the problem.

KCBOSS1
11-11-2010, 08:12 PM
Article of the year....player of the year

Marcellus
11-11-2010, 08:40 PM
I hope to hell he keeps it up, and I think it's possible, but the Chiefs fan in me is pessimistic.

Prodigal Son
11-11-2010, 09:04 PM
Mediocrity caused by (as the article points out) his personal demons. Which by all accounts he has finally put behind him.

Personal demons have a way of coming back. I'm glad DJ is playing well right now, but I'll admit to being skeptical of the 5-year deal.

thurman merman
11-11-2010, 09:13 PM
I'm glad I didn't sell my DJ jersey. I was tempted to several times. Now I wear it proudly.