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Strath Haven’s Johnson earns linebacker spot with Broncos

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  • Strath Haven’s Johnson earns linebacker spot with Broncos

    saw this article in the Kansas board.

    By TERRY TOOHEY 09/04/2012 5:25 AM
    Steven Johnson reported to the Denver Broncos practice facility around 4 o’clock last Friday afternoon not sure if he should empty his locker or leave it alone.

    It was cut down day in the NFL, the day every team had to finalize its roster for the opening week of the 2012 season and Johnson, an undrafted rookie free agent from Strath Haven, was not sure exactly what to do.

    Does he talk to one of the coaches to learn his fate or wait for them to come to him? And so the All-Delco linebacker sat in front of his locker and waited, and waited and waited and waited as other players received their walking papers.

    “No one said anything to me,” Johnson said by phone Monday. “I just sat there, in front of my locker. I didn’t want to move.

    Around 6 p.m. Johnson finally learned his fate. It came via a thumbs up from a member of the personnel department and was confirmed by one of the team’s trainers.

    Johnson, the longest of longshots, made the Broncos’ 53-man roster, but he wasn’t taking any chances.

    “I didn’t want to tell my family until after the (7 p.m. cut down) deadline,” the 24-year-old Johnson said. “I wanted to make sure.”

    This was one time in his life that no contact was a good thing.

    “It’s such a great feeling,” Johnson said. “Playing in the NFL has been a dream of mine since I starting playing football with the Rose Tree Colts when I was 5 years old. It’s just so surreal. I’ve been thinking about this for 19 years and now I’m here.”

    Johnson will make his professional debut Sunday night, when the Broncos host the Pittsburgh Steelers on NBC.

    “It’s just unbelievable,” Johnson said. “I see Peyton Manning every day. It’s kind of weird. He walked by and talked to me the other day. This is a guy I grew up watching and now he’s sitting on the other side of the locker room from me. It’s a dream come true.”

    One he worked hard to achieve. Johnson took a rather circuitous route. He was not a big-time prospect coming out of Strath Haven, even though he earned All-Delco and second-team Class AAA All-State honors as a senior in 2005. Yet he still dreamed of playing big-time college football.

    Johnson thought that dream came to an end when he suffered a devastating knee injury while playing at Wyoming Seminary in 2006. It took more than a year, but Johnson worked his way back into shape and convinced the coaches at Kansas to give him a shot to make the team as a walk-on. He did, and then worked his way into the starting lineup as a junior.

    Johnson started 24 consecutive games for the Jayhawks, served as one of the team’s captains and led the Big 12 and was ranked 21st nationally with 124 tackles as a senior. Johnson finished his collegiate career with 229 tackles.

    He was just as impressive in three preseason games with the Broncos. Johnson led the team with 16 tackles, including 14 solo stops.

    “It’s not a good feeling, but I’ve always felt comfortable with my back to the wall,” Johnson said. “I know exactly where I stand and you learn to appreciate things when you have to work for it. There are other guys who received big signing bonuses and are driving nice cars. I don’t have a car yet, but now I’ll be able to buy my first car and I know I’ll appreciate it because of what I had to do to get it.”

    Johnson is listed second on the depth chart at middle linebacker behind former Eagle Joe Mays. He is also expected to be a key special-teams performer for the Broncos. But in keeping with his makeup, Johnson is not content to be a reserve.

    “I’m not done yet,” Johnson said. “Before it’s all over, I want to be known as one of the best linebackers of all time.”

  • #2
    Thank you for sharing, had not read this one yet. I have however noticed that articles like this one are waay more current this year. There is a real workman sense about these new guys, they are not entitled.

    Forgive me for not posting but just read one on Malik Jackson that was eeriely familiar. Loving the shape of this D.
    Last edited by Elways_Ghost; 09-06-2012, 11:48 PM. Reason: Name mis spell


    • #3
      Wow, pretty good read. I love that attitude, and that would be awesome. He will be a player I root for now because of this. Thanks for posting.
      :salute: :goz: :salute:


      • #4
        That's awesome, honestly.

        Love this kid already. Pretty sweet hes already the #2 MLB!

        Thanks for the read!


        • #5
          Awesome!! I will be cheering on LB SJ for sure!


          • #6
            Hope he becomes one of the best with us.

            I was really impressed during the pre season, he was ALWAYS around the ball. Every time one of our LBs made a tackle it was either Johnson, Trevathan or Irving. I want this kids to succeed. Hopefully they can take snaps away from Mays and Woodyard, and also, take advantage of DUI's suspension.

            We have a pretty solid set of LBs!


            • #7
              Check out jayhawk fans are saying they're happy from him.


              There's also an interesting little story in the last post


              • #8
                Great read. I love his drive for the game and confidence - it's exactly what this team needs. I'm going to be pulling for this kid all season and hopefully he gets a shot to prove that he can get the job done as a starting middle linebacker. Kudos to him. All these undrafted Kentucky players do us very well!
                2016 Adopt-A-Bronco: CB-Chris Harris Jr.


                • #9
                  Sounds like another Rod Smith. That can only be good for the Broncos.
                  Canadian Denver Bronco Fan Club #60


                  • #10
                    I like that guy.
                    :lombardi:2019 Adopt-A-Bronco: Dr. Dre'Mont Jones


                    • #11
                      Remember who it was that said the Broncos should get and keep Steven Johnson, as well as Chris Harris and Danny Trevathan. A fella by the name of Smoke.


                      • #12
                        Great article! Thanks for posting! Reading articles like this really makes me want to root for a guy like Johnson. It gives you that Rod Smith/Karl Mecklenburg type of feel.

                        I know everyone thinks we are kinda weak in the LB area but honestly there is soooo much talent there that if we are patient and coach them up right, we may have a VERY VERY good LB crew in the coming years. Miller-Johnson-Travathan-Irving all under 25 and have loads of potential. With John Fox's track record with LB's I have a feeling we could see a youth movement at the position next season if we want to move away from DJ and Mays.



                        • #13
                          Wow! What a great read! Thanks for posting!

                          I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for this kid.


                          • #14
                            He's got his chance now hopefully he makes the most of it.


                            • #15
                              Johnson was the first guy I noticed at camp that I did not already know. Did not know who he was when I looked up the number he wore but he has impressed me again and again.

                              Would really like to see him get some playing time at MLB...he just seems like the kind of football player who makes things happen.
                              Let's Ride!