In the wake of Jamaal Charles returning to retire, Chiefs defensive legend Derrick Johnson will reportedly do the same later this week.
This week has provided quite a trip down memory lane for the Kansas City Chiefs. On Wednesday, Jamaal Charles officially returned to Arrowhead as a member of the team only to retire from the National Football League after signing a one-day contract with the Chiefs. Now word comes via 610 Sports that linebacker Derrick Johnson has plans to follow in Charles’ footsteps and do the same thing.
Charles retired from the Chiefs as the franchise’s all-time leader in rushing yardage and one of the NFL’s most elusive running backs in history. Johnson has a similar impact on the team as the franchise’s all-time leader in tackles, and he was also one of the best all-around linebackers in the league during his playing days.
Johnson was the team’s first round selection at No. 15 overall in the 2005 NFL Draft, and he manned the middle for the next decade-plus. He finished his career in K.C. with 1,151 tackles, which set the record, and 103 of those were for a loss. He added 22 forced fumbles, 27.5 sacks, 77 passes defended and 14 interceptions. He was a rare breed, a linebacker able to drop in coverage and get after the passer and he was just as productive at both.
The Chiefs have had major difficulty replacing DJ ever since he was released by the team. While it was clear his skill set was fading as he was getting older, the reality is that the Chiefs have looked at free agency and the draft trying to find a suitable replacement—and nothing has worked just yet. Anthony Hitchens is hoping that a new 4-3 base system and coordinator in Steve Spagnuolo helps to flip the switch, but last year was not a good look for any of the team’s linebackers.
Johnson was named to four Pro Bowl teams in his career with the Chiefs, a 13-year stretch in which he established himself as the heart of the team’s defense. DJ spent last season in Oakland with the Raiders, but was released halfway through the season after only six games.