Catching up with Derrick Johnson
How are things in Kansas City? I'm really enjoying Kansas City. It's a great place to live. It's big enough that there is a lot of stuff to do, but small enough that you get to know people around town and can get really involved in the community. I've been doing a lot of stuff around Kansas City and helping where I can. I'm back in Texas now enjoying part of the offseason and plan on getting more involved here with my foundation (King of the Field Foundation). Waco, Austin and the State of Texas have been so good to me that I'm really excited to have a chance to give something back to show my appreciation.
What brings you back to Austin? I just started my offseason training down in Houston and came through to see some friends and catch up with everyone here. I never miss a chance to swing through Austin. It will always be one of my favorite places to be. I'm heading up to Waco to see my family and then take part in my high school's (Waco H.S.) football banquet on Wednesday. They invited me as their honored alumnus so that's pretty cool. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone back there and taking part in that.
How did the season go for you? It was kind of an up-and-down season for both me and the team. I got off to a really good start and everything was clicking for me in the NFL like it did in college and then I sprained my ankle against the Rams. It was a high-ankle sprain so it just seemed like it took forever to heal. Every week I kept trying to come back because I wanted to get out there and help the team, but I ended up missing four games. That was really frustrating, but once I got back I got back to playing really well and ended on a high note. I'm really excited about next year.
[Editor's note: Johnson posted 83 tackles (third on team), 4.5 sacks, forced two fumbles and recovered two fumbles in 13 Games. He led the Chiefs in tackles (7 solo, 1 asst., 8 total) in their playoff loss to the Super Bowl-bound Indianapolis Colts (23-8).]
You started out with Dick Vermeil and then played for Herm Edwards this year, how was that transition? They are both really cool guys that are fun to play for. I earned a lot from Coach Vermeil and will always feel fortunate that I had a chance to play for him. Coach Edwards is a player's coach too. He's a guy that's really fun to be around. He'll be out at practice joking around with all of the guys, but when it's time to get serious and down to business, he does that. He's a great coach. I have all of the confidence in the world in him.
Who are you picking to win the Super Bowl? Obviously, I'm pulling for the Bears because of all the former Longhorns there. I'm excited for Cedric (Benson), Nate (Vasher) and Coach Drake. I've stayed in touch with Tommie Harris too and even though he's hurt, I hope he has a chance to get a ring. I can't even imagine what they're going through this week, but I hope they have some time to enjoy it. I'm not going to bother them before the game but I'll definitely ask them all about it when I see them. That's every players dream, and it's good for them that they had a chance to get there so early in their careers. I hope they can pull off the win, but I've seen the Colts first-hand and know how tough that will be. If Peyton (Manning) and their offense gets rolling, they're really hard to stop.