So the Pats have lost Bruschi for the season and now Johnson. Probably won't hurt them much, because they'll have McGinest, Colvin, Brown (if he's healthy), Vrabel, and Beisel to work with. Still, this can't be good news.Quote:
Johnson played 10 seasons in the NFL
Thursday, July 28, 2005
FOXBORO, Mass. -- Ted Johnson's surprise retirement Thursday opened another big hole for the New England Patriots at inside linebacker.
And that may not be the end of their defensive gaps.
Concerned with a series of concussions during his 10-year career, Johnson retired one day before the Super Bowl champions hold their first full-squad workouts of training camp. The announcement came eight days after Tedy Bruschi, who suffered a minor stroke in February, said he would sit out the season.
Defensive end Richard Seymour, meanwhile, could stay away from camp in a contract dispute just as he did for last month's minicamp.
Seymour has two years remaining on a $14.3 million deal he signed in 2001 after being drafted in the first round and wants it renegotiated. His attorney, Eugene Parker, did not return a call seeking comment.
Without Johnson and Bruschi, the top inside linebackers for the team that allowed the second fewest points in the NFL last year are Chad Brown and Monty Beisel. Both signed in the offseason as free agents, but Brown has battled injuries and Beisel started the first game of his four NFL seasons last year. Outside linebacker Mike Vrabel also played inside during minicamp.
Johnson and Bruschi were two of the Patriots' top three tacklers last season and two of their four most senior players.
Johnson had an injury-plagued career after the Patriots drafted him in the second round out of Colorado in 1995.
"It is with deep regret that I have decided to retire from football," he said in a statement issued by the team. "The decision was not an easy one, but life sometimes has a timetable all its own. I can no longer ignore the severe short- and long-term complications of the concussive head injuries I have sustained over the years."
Coach Bill Belichick, knowing Bruschi might not play, added several linebackers in the offseason. Johnson's decision apparently caught him by surprise on the day veterans were due to report for physicals and conditioning runs. Rookies reported earlier.
"Although his retirement is unexpected, we thoroughly respect his decision and support him as he moves on," said Belichick. "Ted's signature was a work ethic and toughness that were second to none. He retires a champion."
He said Johnson told him of the decision Thursday.
Johnson, 32, was on the Patriots' three Super Bowl champions in the last four seasons and also played in the Super Bowl won by Green Bay in 1997.
In 2003, concussions limited him to eight games and two starts. But last season he started 15 of the 16 regular-season games and played in all three playoff games. His 112 regular-season tackles were his most in six years.
Wide receiver Troy Brown and outside linebacker Willie McGinest are the only players with more seniority on the Patriots and commented on Johnson's retirement in a statement issued by the team.
"Everybody always talks about how good of an inside linebacker he was and how hard he was to block," Brown said. "He's just been a tremendous player for us over the years."
"Ted was a pillar in the organization," McGinest said. "He helped me out and definitely made it easier for me out on the field. It was a surprise for us and sad to see a guy like that go."
The 6-foot-4, 253-pound Johnson started 106 of 125 regular-season games and was credited with 865 tackles and 11½ sacks.