Kansas City Chiefs: Derrick Johnson On The Road To Recovery

Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Derrick Johnson. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Derrick Johnson. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /

The Kansas City Chiefs suffered a big blow when they lost Derrick Johnson for the season. Now the star linebacker is focused on getting back in time for the 2017 season.

The entirety of the Kansas City Chiefs fan base knew exactly what happened as they stared at their television screens. The image on the screen was heartbreaking. Star linebacker and defensive captain Derrick Johnson sat on the field with his helmet off and a defeated look on his face. It could mean only one thing. Johnson’s season was over.

Fast forward to the present and we find exactly what should be expected by anyone familiar with Derrick Johnson. The consummate professional and veteran gridiron warrior is focused on getting back on the field. DJ is focused on 2018, and you would be foolish to think he won’t be out on that field come opening day.

As for official timelines, Derrick Johnson tells Chiefs reporter BJ Kissel that he expects to be running by the time OTAs come around. Beyond that, Johnson plans on being fully ready by Training Camp. He is already out of his walking boot, though he now has a smaller one to help walk.

Fans of the Kansas City Chiefs are rightfully excited about Johnson’s potential return. The run defense for the Chiefs was not up to par last season. Though Derrick Johnson doesn’t fix that on his own, the defense struggled with him, it is a step in the right direction. However, there is also some thought and concern about the future.

Related Story: Kansas City Chiefs: Ramik Wilson Has A Future With KC

What Lies Ahead?

Derrick Johnson is not a young man in the NFL world. He knows that as well as anyone. Back in December, Johnson told the Kansas City Star: “I have two more years on my deal and I intend to finish them out strong.” In the meantime, Andy Reid has gotten him working on his coaching skills. That would seem to suggest a particular future that Reid has in mind for his defensive captain.

“I have two more years on my deal and I intend to finish them out strong.” ~ Derrick Johnson on his future.

That, of course, has many Kansas City Chiefs fans worried about the future of inside linebacker for the team. Many pundits and analysts, including KC Kingdom’s own Leigh Oleszczak, have sent a linebacker early to the Chiefs in mock drafts. I am of a much different opinion. For my own money, I’m betting on Ramik Wilson to fill the eventual void.

Regardless of the means, the Chiefs do have to look to the future at some point. It would make sense for that to happen now, if it hasn’t already. Kansas City needs a playmaking linebacker in the middle of their defense. In the meantime, this team still needs Derrick Johnson on the field as its captain.

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The Kansas City Chiefs are still very much a contender for the Super Bowl as we look ahead to 2017 and beyond. The Chiefs have built a strong core within its roster, and Derrick Johnson is a major part of that. Getting him back for the 2017 season is would be a major boost for KC’s chances at building on the 2016 season.