Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson weathers individual storm

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Instead of seething when Kansas city coach Todd Haley benched him last year,Johnson hunkered down and worked more difficult than he’d ever worked in his life.

Going all the way in which back yet again on the way in which to playgrounds of Waco, the previous starlinebacker at Texas could not bear in feelings a period when he wasn’t merely a starter,but also just about the most effective player on his team. Now the Chiefs are actually employing himonly especially situations and seemed to become declaring that this team’s new coachingstaff do not see him being a player they wanted to build around.

Faced with being humbled for the initial time in what experienced always been acharmed life, several athletes would rebel. Johnson, after all, experienced been thenational defensive player from the yr once the Chiefs drafted him within the firstround in 2005.

But heeding lessons he realized developing up in the stern but loving home,Johnson kept his mouth shut. He attempted to keep a optimistic attitude. He nevercomplained, by no means grumbled.

Now he leads the Chiefs with 79 tackles too as ink is drying on the five-yearcontract extension that could perhaps be really worth being a whole good offer as $ 34 million. as quickly as again, he’sa take the leading role player on the winning team.

Instead of saying, ‘Hi, mom,’ when cameras catch him for the sideline,Johnson would probably say, ‘Thanks, mom!’

“She tutored me to remain humble. think in God. Know that something goodwill take on place if you ever just keep functioning hard. It compensated faraway from for me,” Johnson saidWednesday getting a huge smile.

A sixth-grade math teacher, Beverly Johnson wasn’t a mother to become trifledwith.

“She instilled several education and learning and several discipline,” said Johnson.”She was surely rigid on me when i experienced been a kid. I obtained to comprehend appropriate from wrong.She’s a huge part of why my personality is powerful now.”

For Haley and what he phone calls his “transitioning” football team, Johnsonbrings a bonus—something besides exceptional performs for illustration tying an NFL recordlast yr by returning two interceptions for touchdowns versus Denver.

He could be also residing evidence of what can take on place each time a player buys into what theChiefs are selling. perform hard, hang up tough, acknowledge self-control and theopportunities on this group are limitless.

It’s something Haley steps gingerly around.

“As we proceed through this process you can happen around planning to become guys, that it becomesclear to us that would be the right sorts of guys,” Haley said. “And at the sametime, it becomes obvious to game enthusiasts that maybe, ‘This is where I should be. Thisis the way in which I should do things, and I need to become a part of this.”‘

Haley by no means indicated why Johnson wasn’t starting.

“All I noticed must have been a player that pushed his chips in and made it obvious hewanted to become part with this particular and was not planning to become denied,” he said. “The moreguys you might have like that that are undertaking that, that are willing to push them all inand say, ‘Let’s do this,’ the much better chance you have. And we are getting significantly more andmore, and that is a real ideal stage for the Kansas city Chiefs.”

Johnson acknowledges he needed to perform to fend faraway from despair in the training course of his longseason of 2009.

“I did not have everything prepared out how it was gong to happen. I still left that upto God,” he said. “But at exactly the same time, I understood that it was in my bestinterest to just keep working. remain humble. undertaking the right stage is going topay off, sooner or later.”

He also made a decision that pride, an fantastic motivator within the right situation, canalso be considered a problem.

“In this league, your pride’s obtained to go out the window. I’d be the initial tosay that. Everybody’s ideal in this particular league and just generally since you are not out there,the train keeps rolling. you have obtained to either jump on panel or get off. And Ijumped on.”