David Johnson entered 2012 training camp with an interesting tale to tell. He’s a pure Tomlin-era player, drafted as a tight end by the Steelers with their final pick in the 2009 NFL draft. But Johnson’s first action in the NFL came at full back, where he saw spot duty during his rookie campaign.
Johnson entered 2010 on the bubble, as almost any 7th round pick would, but assured himself a roster spot with his continued development.
The Steelers faith in him paid off on opening day when Johnson took on two blockers to pave the way Rashard Mendenhall’s thrilling 50 yard overtime touchdown vs. the Falcons. (Available as of 8/10/12):
After Johnson’s role with the team grew.
In December of 2010 Johnson had his biggest game in Baltimore vs. the Ravens. Matt Speath was out with an injury and during the game the Steelers lost Heath Miller would after a vicious concussion leaving Johnson as the team’s lone tight end.
Johnson rose to the occasion, catching three passes including a key 25 yard completion, earning him Unsung Hero honors for the week.
One of Todd Haley’s first official moves was to reinstate the fullback into the Steelers offense, and Johnson was tapped to take that role, although Mike Tomlin clarified a week ago that he’d also be playing some tight end.
In short, David Johnson had a tremendous opportunity in front of him heading into 2012, and that is all for naught as report indicate that he injured his ACL when Marcus Gilbert rolled over him in the Steelers preseason opener vs. Philadelphia.
The Steelers are almost certain to put Johnson on IR, ending his season, and ending his shot and proving himself worthy of a big payday in free agency. Steel Curtain Rising wishes David Johnson the best of luck in his recovery.