When defensive end George Johnson joined the Detroit Lions nearly a year ago, I wrote this about him:
At this point, Johnson looks like a camp body. He is slated to be behind Ziggy Ansah, Jason Jones, Devin Taylor and Darryl Tapp on the depth chart, and the Lions also recently added Kourtnei Brown. And considering the Lions could still use a draft pick on a defensive end, Johnson's chances of sticking around as a member of the 53-man roster don't seem great, but I suppose it's a bit early in the year to be thinking too much about that.
A bit early indeed. Johnson went from being a camp body with no career sacks and only 11 career games in four years to an important part of the Lions' rotation at defensive end. He not only made the team, but he finished the year with 29 tackles and 6.0 sacks.
After the season, Johnson was rewarded for his stunning turnaround with a three-year deal worth $9 million from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Since he was a restricted free agent, the Lions had an opportunity to match that deal, but they ultimately ended up trading him. The trade means that Johnson is now a member of the Bucs, which first signed him as an undrafted free agent when he entered the NFL back in 2010. The trade also means Johnson's run in Detroit is over, but he certainly isn't going to forget his one season with the Lions. Check out the message he posted following the trade on Wednesday:
Detroit will always hold a special place in my heart, you guys gave me a chance when no one was willing; for that I'm grateful.— George Johnson (@GeoJohns92) April 15, 2015
I have learned behind great leadership from the organization, players, and community.— George Johnson (@GeoJohns92) April 15, 2015
Continuing on this journey that God has allowed, I vow to bring love, commitment, and hard work to the city of Tampa Bay— George Johnson (@GeoJohns92) April 15, 2015
Best of luck in Tampa, George.