He's one of the unquestioned leaders of the Kansas City Chiefs.
After missing the 2014 season because of injury, linebacker Derrick Johnson, who enters his 11th season in Kansas City this year, is ready to get back on the field and make plays for the Chiefs defense.
"I am definitely at 100 percent," he said, "and that's a good feeling. The mental game is not where it needs to be yet, but it will be—that comes with reps. Physically, I'm out there running around and having fun, man. I can't wait for this season to start.
"I feel like a kid in a candy store. It means a lot more when you have your health taken away from you from a crazy injury, a fluke injury. To be back on the field with my guys, running around and having fun means a lot."
Johnson returns to a Chiefs defense that finished second in the NFL last year by allowing just 17.6 points per game.
Individually, Johnson is just 15 tackles shy of becoming the Chiefs all-time leader in that category. Before going down with the injury in 2014, Johnson had been named to three consecutive Pro Bowls (2011-13).
On Tuesday, which marked just the second padded practice of training camp, Johnson made a couple of standout plays that showed everyone he was back to his old self again.
He can normally be found hyping up his teammates before and after plays, something he says is his responsibility as a leader.
"They need to hear from you," he explained. "Of course, they see me make some plays, but at the same time, I need to reiterate certain stuff—make them think, call out different plays. I've been in this game for a long time and they need to hear from me.
"When I call out different plays or talk to motivate them, they know Derrick Johnson is on our side and he's about to make a play."
Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson (56)
Johnson said the confidence level is high for this team.
"There's no reason why it shouldn't be high," he explained. "And that's not cockiness. That's pure confidence, knowing that we can do a lot of things offensively and defensively.
"We're having fun and trying to accomplish something, and that's to win the Super Bowl."
He's been a fan favorite since he was drafted in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft (No. 15 overall), and Johnson can't wait to run out of the tunnel at Arrowhead Stadium for the first home game on Thursday Night Football against the Denver Broncos. "It puts a smile on my face thinking about it right now," he said. "I have chills going down my body. It's one of those things where you can tell people about the experience, about running out on Arrowhead Stadium, but you don't really know until you're actually in that Sea of Red, hearing those fans, the best fans in the world, the loudest stadium in the world. I can't wait."