Last year, Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Derrick Johnson did not make it to halftime of the first game before tearing his Achilles. The All-Pro was lost for the season, and at 32 years old, it was questioned whether he could ever return in decent form. If Jamaal Charles is correct, Johnson will be back and better than ever.
Charles spoke to ESPN’s Adam Teicher this week and told him that Johnson looks in tip-top shape during workouts together, something the pair does in conjunction with other players who played at the University of Texas.
"“He’s doing pretty good,” Charles said. “He looks like he never hurt his Achilles. Dude looks good. He’s got no soreness. He’s not complaining about it. I think he’s excited to get back on the field. I’m going to be excited to see DJ play this year.”"
If Johnson can return at full strength, Kansas City’s defense is going to take another huge step forward. Judging from this video, it seems he should be alright.
Considering the unit ranked second in points allowed and seventh in yardage permitted, that is great news. Additionally, Johnson will fortify a run defense which was gashed for 127.3 rushing yards per game, 28th in the NFL. If Mike DeVito is also back to his previous form after sustaining an Achilles injury, the Chiefs will be in great shape. Johnson, entering his 11th campaign, had four consecutive 100-tackle seasons before getting injured. In 2013, the former first-round pick totaled 4.5 sacks, tying a career-high. Sometimes forgotten because of his other strengths, Johnson is also a premiere coverage linebacker, registering 11 interceptions in Kansas City. With the offseason conditioning program beginning April 20, Johnson will begin the road back with the rest of his teammates. Practice will not begin until OTAs, which take place in May and June. It will certainly be nice seeing this once again:
Football season needs to show me some hustle.