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Rams Notes: Johnson offers versatility
By Kathleen Nelson
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Friday, May. 25 2007
Rams safety Todd Johnson came agonizingly close to the top of the heap in four
years with the Chicago Bears.
"I made a lot of friends there, and to see that team grow the way it did and
turn into a contender was something fun to be a part of," Johnson said. "But
I'm excited about the change."
After the Bears' 29-17 loss to the Colts in the Super Bowl, Johnson became a
free agent, explored his options and visited a couple of teams. The Rams got
the nod, he said, because, "They were 8-8 last year and finished strong. A few
plays here and there, and they were in the playoffs and in the thick of things.
That's what I'm really excited about. I felt comfortable with where this team
Johnson slipped into town under the radar, signing a four-year deal worth about
$3.9 million March 12, the same day the Rams signed tight end Randy McMichael.
Rams coach Scott Linehan, however, became familiar with Johnson when Linehan
served as offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings, who played the Bears
twice a year in the NFC North. Johnson started 10 games in 2004, two in 2005
and six last year but made an impression on special teams.
"You had to make sure you blocked him," Linehan said. "You see a guy who also
has the ability to go in if something happens to your starting safeties and
play well. He also understands his role, to be the best backup safety he can be
and the most effective special teams player you have on your roster."
Johnson, 28, said he had not discussed with coaches how much playing time he
would get at safety, although he has a game plan. "It's your job to make it so
they can't take you off the field," he said.
— Defensive tackle Sam Adams visited Rams Park and underwent a physical
Thursday. The 13-year veteran has appeared in three Pro Bowls and has played
with Seattle, Oakland, Baltimore, Buffalo and last year in Cincinnati. He
underwent knee surgery after the season and was released earlier this month.
— Running back Steven Jackson was absent from the practice field Thursday. "He
had a commitment he had made, so I excused him from a voluntary workout,"
— The Rams won't hit the field again until June 4, when they begin their final
three days of organized training activities, then hold their minicamp June
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