Johnson, the leading tackler in Chiefs history, joined up with Jon Gruden‘s Raiders this offseason. Many criticized Gruden’s preference for signing older players this year, and the 35-year-old is one of several veterans who have not panned out in Oakland.
“I still have a fire burning. I can still play at a high level, and I want to prove that.” Johnson said after signing with the Raiders in May. “That [response] made [Gruden’s] eyeballs jump, because he’s got a lot to prove, too. There was an environment in the room that was very contagious. I knew a deal would happen after I left..I’m one of Gruden’s favorite players — he’s always had a soft spot for me. He’s always said that over the years.”
The veteran boasts four Pro Bowl nods and a First-Team All-Pro selection on his resume, so he might be able to hook on elsewhere. Still, he’s clearly not the player that he once was. Despite amassing more than 2,600 tackles since entering the league as a first round choice in 2005, he has just 17 tackles to his credit through six games this year.
Johnson requested his release from the team, a source tells Michael Gehlken of the Review-Journal (on Twitter). The Raiders first tried to trade him, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter), but they were unable to find a suitable deal.
So far, linebacker Marquel Lee has gotten the brunt of the reps at linebacker, and he’ll continue to do so with Johnson out of the picture. Cabinda, a rookie, may also factor into the equation.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.