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Rob Johnson (American football): Wikis

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Rob Johnson
Position(s)
Quarterback
Jersey #(s)
3, 7, 9, 11, 12, 17
Born March 18, 1973 (1973-03-18) (age 36)
Newport Beach, California
Career information
Year(s) 19952006
NFL Draft 1995 / Round: 4 / Pick: 99
College Southern California
Professional teams
Career stats
TD-INT 30-23
Yards 5,795
QB Rating 83.6
Stats at NFL.com
Career highlights and awards
  • Super Bowl XXXVII

Rob Garland Johnson (born March 18, 1973 in Newport Beach, California) is a former professional American football quarterback who played for 10 seasons in the National Football League (NFL).

Contents

College career

Johnson played college football at the University of Southern California where he was teammates with Keyshawn Johnson, Curtis Conway, Johnnie Morton, Willie McGinest, and All America tackle and fellow Jacksonville Jaguars draftee Tony Boselli. Johnson left USC holding virtually ever major passing record and spent much of his senior year as a Heisman Trophy candidate. In his final game for the school, Johnson led his team to victory in the Cotton Bowl Classic, dominating Texas Tech by a final score of 55-14.

Professional career

Johnson joined the NFL in 1995 when he was drafted by the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars as the first draft pick of the second day (number 99 overall).

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Johnson spent his first two seasons with Jacksonville on the bench, first backing up Steve Beuerlein, and then star QB Mark Brunell. Johnson did not start a game until Week 1 of 1997. He completed 20 of 24 passes for 294 yards and 2 touchdowns and ran for 31 yards and one touchdown on four attempts in a 28-27 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. This performance set the record that still stands for the highest completion percentage of any QB in his debut game. Johnson injured his ankle soon after and Brunell returned to the starting lineup. After another successful season by Brunell, Johnson was placed on the trading block.

Buffalo Bills

Johnson was obtained by the Buffalo Bills in 1998. The Bills gave a first and fourth round pick for Johnson; the first rounder became star RB Fred Taylor. Johnson started for Buffalo in 1998 season, and despite great statistics, began with a dismal 0-3 start. In Week 4 against the 49ers however, Johnson led the Bills to an impressive victory, out-dueling the great Steve Young in an upset victory. However, an injury soon after paved the way for the comeback of Doug Flutie, and for years to come, the two would battle over the starting job, dividing the team in the process.

Johnson was the starter in one of Buffalo's most infamous sports moments when the Bills traveled to Tennessee for Wild Card Weekend. Johnson had an up-and-down game, giving up a safety early, but leading his team down the field late in the game against the #1 defense in football - with one shoe (having lost the other one with no time to put it back on) - to set up a Steve Christie field goal with :16 left. The play to follow saw Frank Wycheck perform a lateral pass to Kevin Dyson en route to a stunning 75 yard game-winning touchdown. Johnson would see playoff action again a few years later, but the Bills have yet to make a playoff game since.

After the 2000 season, it was clear that the Bills could not keep both Johnson and Flutie on the same team. Doug Flutie went an impressive 4-1, while Johnson had a less than impressive record, leading the Bills to a losing season in the process. Unfortunately for Johnson, the team he was handed in 2001 was much less talented than past Bills teams, and had little success in 2001. His only win of the season came in the very stadium where he started his career, in a 13-6 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on ESPN's Sunday Night Football. Johnson threw the late game-winning TD to give Buffalo its first win of the season. Soon after, Johnson broke his collarbone and Alex Van Pelt assumed the starting job for the rest of the 2001 season.

By the end of Johnson's Buffalo career, he earned both enviable and dubious Bills career records. Johnson boasts both the best completion percentage and the worst sack-to-dropback ratio in Bills history. Johnson's reluctance to throw the ball away earned him the nickname "Robo-sack." [1]

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

After a dismal 2001 campaign that saw Johnson miss half the season with a broken clavicle, Johnson signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 2002 season. Under new head coach Jon Gruden, the team was looking for a mobile signal caller in the mold of Rich Gannon. Many thought that Johnson fit that mold - a veteran with arm strength and the ability to scramble, which incumbent Brad Johnson lacked. However, Rob lacked the other Johnson's pocket awareness and decisiveness, prompting Gruden to name Rob the backup. When Brad Johnson was injured in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Rob Johnson led the Buccaneers to a defense-filled 12-9 victory over the Carolina Panthers the following week. However, Rob's subpar play in practice led Gruden to try out veteran and fan favorite Shaun King several weeks later following another Brad Johnson injury. King played so poorly against the Pittsburgh Steelers, throwing three interceptions (one of which was returned for a touchdown) versus only five completions that Rob Johnson started the second half, leading the Buccaneers to a late touchdown drive but failing to spark a comeback. The following week, with a first-round playoff bye on the line, Johnson led the Buccaneers to five field goals against the Chicago Bears at the University of Illinois' Memorial Stadium for the franchise's first-ever victory when the kickoff temperature was below freezing. For the third time at the controls of the Buccaneers, Johnson didn't turn the ball over. Johnson saw playoff action in injury relief of Brad Johnson once again, and helped the Bucs keep their Super Bowl hopes alive. Brad Johnson returned and led Tampa to their first Super Bowl Title a few weeks later. Johnson decided to sign elsewhere after the 2002 season. While he did not become the QB Gruden had hoped for, he served as a reliable backup who helped his team win the Super Bowl title.

Washington Redskins

When it became obvious that Brad Johnson was the franchise QB following the Super Bowl win, Rob met with Dallas Cowboys officials, but ultimately signed to the Washington Redskins. Johnson did not start for Washington, but saw action in a game against his old team, the Buffalo Bills. Johnson was called into the game after starting quarterback Patrick Ramsey was injured. He entered the game to a chorus of from the crowd at Ralph Wilson Stadium and was sacked by Aaron Schobel on his second play of the game, sending the crowd into a frenzy. The very next day, owner Daniel Snyder reinforced his haphazard decision-making by terminating Johnson's contract and replacing him with free agent Tim Hasselbeck.

Oakland Raiders

Soon after his release, Johnson was signed by the Oakland Raiders to help ease their QB woes. Climbing the chart over Rick Mirer and Tee Martin, Johnson saw playing time on a Monday Night Football game against the Green Bay Packers. Green Bay steamrolled Oakland and Johnson. His last pass attempt was directed at the legendary Jerry Rice, but it fell incomplete. Following the season, Oakland still owned the rights to Johnson; however, he did not return with the team and the Raiders cleared his roster spot.

Johnson's Tennessee/NY Comebacks

Following his release, Johnson underwent Tommy John surgery, a procedure usually performed on baseball pitchers. A tendon was taken from Johnson's wrist and transplanted into his elbow to replace the injured tendon that resembled "a frayed rope" from overuse. A year after his surgery, Johnson worked out for the Tennessee Titans, who were looking for depth after letting Steve McNair sign with the Baltimore Ravens. Johnson threw for the team, but was still not in game shape; reports suggested his arm strength was under 50%. A year later, Johnson tried out for, and was signed by, the New York Giants and battled for a backup spot behind Eli Manning. Johnson once again lost out to Tim Hasselbeck, and was cut before the preseason came to an end. Johnson said in an NFL.com interview that if he felt he could still play at an NFL level, he would continue his career, but he has yet to work with any other teams, presumably calling an end to his professional football career.

Life After the NFL

Johnson has been busy since his retirement from the NFL. In addition to raising his childred with his wife in Covenant Hills, California, he has worked closely with his brother Brett and father Bob at "Camp Quarterback," a training camp that has produced the likes of Carson Palmer, Mark Sanchez, Matt Leinart, and Drew Brees.

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Reggie Perry
USC Trojans Starting Quarterbacks
1992-1994
Succeeded by
Brad Otton
Preceded by
Mark Brunell
Jacksonville Jaguars Starting Quarterbacks
1997
Succeeded by
Mark Brunell
Preceded by
Todd Collins
Buffalo Bills Starting Quarterbacks
1998-2001
Succeeded by
Alex Van Pelt
Preceded by
Brad Johnson
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Starting Quarterbacks
2002
Succeeded by
Brad Johnson

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