Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson, who was a first round pick in 2005 was one of the players who worked hard and learned to adapt to Todd Haley’s way of doing things has been rewarded for his efforts and results by getting a contract extension.
Johnson signed a five year contract extension worth a guaranteed $15 million that could go up to as much as $34 million. Johnson leads the Chiefs with 65 tackles, returned an interception for a touchdown, forced three fumbles and broke up five passes.
Earlier in the week, Chiefs’ head coach Todd Haley commented on Johnson.
I think from day one that I came into this building, Derrick was somebody that had a reputation of being a big time college player. He is a guy that has a great amount of ability, a great amount of skill and he is starting to turn that into talent. He is becoming a talented player and as I have said in here, there is a big difference between skill and talent. If you just have skill and you don’t have the other things, the discipline, the will to fight through, the will to win, the will to be great then skill sometimes can be wasted in cases but Derrick has not shown any of those signs. He fought through a difficult year last year from a number of different angles, health being one of them. He came in this off-season with a great mindset and a mindset to be part of something special, to be a great teammate and to be a great player. I think he is trying to do that and I think he has done nothing but get better. He hasn’t been perfect but he is getting better each and every week. Really we have a lot of guys that are doing that but Derrick has clearly been a big reason behind us starting to play better football.”
Haley no doubt believes the competition he had this summer with Demorrio Williams for a starting job helped in Johnson’s development as a player.
“Once the expectations were set for how we wanted to do things and what I expected as the head coach, he has tried to reach those expectations and it is really becoming a year-round deal for these guys with the way the season is set up. He came into this off-season in better shape than he did last off-season and he got stronger, he continues to get stronger which then helps you fight through injuries and some of those things. He just has continued to work, he is ‘all-in’ in my opinion, he wants to be a great teammate and he wants to be part of a great team. When you have those factors and you have a skillful guy like Derrick is, good thing generally happen.”