It’s officially official. On Monday, the Raiders announced the signing of Derrick Johnson. As previously reported, it’s a one-year deal for Oakland and the former Chiefs linebacker.
The Chiefs announced earlier this offseason that they would not be re-signing the 13-year NFL veteran. The market was slow to develop for Johnson and although he had interest from other clubs, the Raiders were the only team to bring him in for a visit. Over the weekend, Johnson explained that his continued passion for the game prompted Jon Gruden to offer him a contract.
“I still have a fire burning. I can still play at a high level, and I want to prove that.” Johnson said. “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.”
In a league that is getting increasingly younger, the Raiders have more players over the age of 29 than any other in the NFL. Like many of this year’s free agent additions in Oakland, Johnson is out to prove that he still has quality football left in the tank. He’ll celebrate his 35th birthday in November.
To make room for Johnson, the Raiders waived cornerback Darius Hillary. Hillary joined Oakland on a futures deal in January.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.