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Press Conference 4/20: LB Derrick Johnson

LB Derrick Johnson speaks with the media as the Chiefs begin their offseason program

Q: How are you feeling?

JOHNSON:"I'm feeling great, feeling great. I've been out for a while. Very excited to be back with the guys. It's one thing to be really healthy and having all your strength, but the comradery that you have with the guys, your brothers, your teammates. That's even better to be back with them, so it's pretty cool."

Q: How far along are you in your rehab?

JOHNSON:"If you see me run and do drills and stuff, I'm probably at 100 percent, but I'm harder on myself, so I'm probably 90-95 just because I haven't played football yet. Football is different than doing drills and stuff, but do I have any limitations? Not at all. The ankle is very flexible, my Achilles is doing great. Don't feel it at all doing strenuous workouts, weights, running fast, racing people, all that stuff is back, so I just can't wait in a couple weeks to get out on the actual field and run around with the guys on the football field. That will be cool."

Q: So all of the strength and conditioning that you are doing today will not be a problem for you?

JOHNSON:"No, that's what I've been doing back in Austin. Working out with the guys – (Brian) Orakpo, Jamaal Charles and everybody. This is stuff I've been doing this whole time. I'm really going to be excited to see in a couple weeks to actually get out on the field, running plays and stuff like that."

Q: Do you feel like the injury will be in the back of your mind right now?

JOHNSON:"No, it's not in the back of my mind – the bigger difference will be in a couple weeks when I get on the field and see how I move out there. And mentally, it's been a while since my injury. But the big part about having a big injury, part of that is mentally and that part has to go away for you to succeed and get back to where you left off. That's my opportunity that I'm trying to get back to where I left off."

Q: How challenging have the last seven months been for you?

JOHNSON:"It's been hard, it's been hard. But I've been through something harder than this and I think through my career, I was equipped for this. When I didn't start that one year, my fifth season, that was harder than this. So it's one of those things where it was really hard to deal with going to the games all the time, looking at the guys having fun. Of course I was in the locker room with them, high-fiving them and stuff. But at the same time I wanted to be out there too. It was very hard, very hard for me. But I knew I had to go through this time, get back to where I need to get to. My career later in my years has been like this. I haven't been on the decline yet, so it's going to be a great opportunity to show everyone I've still got it. So it's a lot to prove this year, so it'll be great."

Q: What was behind posting your workout videos on the web?

JOHNSON:"I was just excited to just run again, that's why I was letting everybody know how I was doing. Keeping everyone updated through Twitter and everything just because everybody wanted to know. I always get questions on how is your injury going. It's a blessing to get back to form and I'm excited."

Q: Did you give any thought to retiring or were you set on rehabbing and getting back out on the field?

JOHNSON:"I'm riding it out right now. I can go another three, four, five years. It's a mentality that I have. It's just the way my career has gone. In my later years, I've been better. If I can stay healthy, I'm going to ride it out. I got a little taste of not being out there on the field with the guys, not being in meeting rooms, that was a little bit of a taste of retirement and I'm not ready for that at all. At all."

Q: What was so tough about being away from the game and not playing? It must be different being a part of the team and not playing.

JOHNSON:"It is different. I was in the locker room with the guys, but it's different when you're not out there with the blood, sweat and tears that they do on Sunday. That's bigtime. That's what I'm used to, that's what I do. I may have missed a game here or there throughout my career, but never a season-ending injury, especially at the beginning of the season like that. It was tough; it was a big blow for me. But my body has held up. I used to have different problems with my shoulders, wrists and little stuff."

Q: It looks like you lost some weight. What did you weigh in today?

JOHNSON:"I have. I'm about 230. I'm a little light right now, probably going to try to get back up to 235. But I've always focused on coming in to camp in shape already, light as I can be. I'm an older guy so gaining weight is not a problem for me."

Q: As an older guy and with the injury, have you thought about carrying less weight?

JOHNSON:"Even before the injury, every year, I lost two or three pounds. When I first got in the league, I was 250-255, so it just started trickling down a little bit. Just less weight. I'm a smarter player. I don't need all that weight. I need to be fast and quick and still have my strength."

Q: How do you feel about Justin Houston coming back to this team?

JOHNSON:"I probably shouldn't talk about guys that aren't here. But when the season hits, we'll have all of our bullets."

Q: How important was it to be able to work out with Mike DeVito while you rehabbed your injury? JOHNSON:"Big part of the reason why I'm here right now and my mindset. Mike DeVito was a guy I depended on a lot even before the injury. He's a guy that kept the big guys off of me. You definitely don't want to see another guy go down like that. Injuries are a big part of the game. But to have a guy of that caliber, mindset-wise, to actually be in an out of rehab with me every single day. I got even closer with him, his faith through God and everything that he brings to the table on and off the field. It wasn't as hard as people thought it was being with Mike DeVito."

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