Stevie Johnson

Stevie Johnson
refer to caption
Johnson with the 49ers in 2014
No. 11, 13
Position: Wide receiver
Personal information
Born: (1986-07-22) July 22, 1986 (age 34)
San Francisco, California
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight: 207 lb (94 kg)
Career information
High school: Fairfield (CA) Rodriguez
College: Kentucky
NFL Draft: 2008 / Round: 7 / Pick: 224
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receptions: 381
Receiving yards: 4,764
Receiving touchdowns: 34
Player stats at

Steven John Johnson Jr.[1] (born July 22, 1986) is a former American football wide receiver. Johnson was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL Draft and has also played for the San Francisco 49ers and San Diego Chargers. He played college football at Kentucky. Despite never making the Pro Bowl, Johnson was the first Bills receiver to post back-to-back seasons with over 1,000 yards receiving, and has been considered one of the best draft steals in franchise history.[2]

High school career

Johnson was homeschooled. He was only able to play football two years there as the public school in his area, Angelo Rodriguez High School, did not add a football program until his junior year. After his senior season, he earned All-State and first-team All-Conference honors. He also played two years of basketball and was a second-team All-Conference selection.

College career

Johnson attended Chabot College in California from 2004 to 2005 before transferring to Kentucky. In his first season with the program, he recorded 12 catches for 159 yards (13.3 avg) and 1 touchdown. Against Clemson in the Music City Bowl, Johnson had three receptions for 67 yards.

The 2007 season was a historic one for Johnson as he compiled 61 receptions for 1,052 yards (17.2 avg) and 13 touchdowns. He became the fourth player in school history to gain over 1,000 yards receiving and his thirteen touchdowns in a season rank second on the school's season-record list.

During the season, he caught three game-winning touchdowns, including one against Clemson in the Music City Bowl.[3]

After the season, Johnson was selected to the College Football News' All-Southeastern Conference first-team.[4]

Professional career


Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
6 ft 2 in
(1.88 m)
210 lb
(95 kg)
88 in
(2.24 m)
4.46 s 1.49 s 2.56 s 4.26 s 7.07 s 32+12 in
(0.83 m)
10 ft 1 in
(3.07 m)
20 reps
All values from NFL Combine, except 40-yard dash from Pro Day.[citation needed]

Buffalo Bills

Johnson was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the seventh round (224th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft.

His first reception came in Week 5 against the Arizona Cardinals, and went for 8 yards. In Week 15, against the New York Jets, Johnson caught his first touchdown reception, a two-yard pass from J. P. Losman. He caught his second touchdown a week later against the Denver Broncos on a three-yard pass from Trent Edwards. Johnson finished his rookie season with 10 receptions for 102 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Battling a severe rib injury, Johnson only managed 2 catches for 10 yards in the 2009 season.

Johnson in the 2011 preseason, while with the Bills.

After good off-season practices Johnson was able to win the starting receiver position before 2010 season. After losing his starting position early in the season, he regained it with a string of good performances, becoming quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's favorite target. In a Week 7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Johnson had a career-game, catching 8 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown. Two weeks later, he set a career-high in catches with 11 for 145 yards against the Chicago Bears.

During Week 3 of the 2010 season in a game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium, Johnson scored a fourth-quarter touchdown. After the score, he imitated a minuteman firing a rifle and fell to the ground backwards pretending to be shot. Johnson was fined $10,000 for the celebration.[5] In a Week 11 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, he caught 8 passes for 137 yards and a career-milestone 3 touchdowns. After his first touchdown, Johnson lifted his jersey to reveal the question "Why so serious?" written on his T-shirt. The quote, made famous by The Joker in the Batman movie sequel The Dark Knight,[6] was directed at Bengals wide receivers Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco, who referred to themselves as Batman and Robin.[7] Johnson was fined $5,000 by the league office for the celebration.[8] After dropping a game winning pass that led to an overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in November, Johnson lamented on Twitter to God, "I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND IS THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO . . ."[9]

He had a breakout campaign in 2010 with 82 receptions, 1073 yards and 10 touchdowns. Following the season, Johnson was named the 2010 Vizio Top Value Performer for being the NFL player who outplayed his salary by the widest margin.[10]

In 2011, Johnson's numbers fell a bit, posting 76 receptions for 1,004 yards and 7 touchdown receptions. According to Steve, he played the year with a torn groin and a broken hand.

During the 2011 season, Johnson was fined twice for excessive celebrations. The first was Week 12 against the New York Jets. Johnson pretended to shoot his leg and then fly like a Jet and pretended to crash, mocking Jets receiver Plaxico Burress. The second was during Week 17 against the New England Patriots, after scoring a touchdown, he lifted his jersey to reveal "Happy New Year!" written on his under-shirt. He was given a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty, and head coach Chan Gailey subsequently benched Johnson for the rest of the game, ending his season.[11]

On March 5, 2012, Johnson signed a new 5-year contract with the Buffalo Bills worth $36.25 million with a signing bonus of $8.5 million.[12]

In the 2012 season, staying consistent with his statistics, he recorded 79 receptions for 1,046 yards and 6 touchdowns. He became the only receiver in Buffalo Bills history to record three consecutive 1,000 yard receiving seasons.

After the release of Ryan Fitzpatrick prior to the season, Johnson worked with new Bills quarterback EJ Manuel. He caught the game-winning touchdown from Manuel in the closing seconds of a week 2 matchup against the Carolina Panthers.[13] Johnson failed to record a fourth consecutive 1,000-yard season, finishing with 52 receptions for 597 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns.

San Francisco 49ers

On May 9, 2014, after the Buffalo Bills acquired Sammy Watkins in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Bills traded Johnson to his hometown team San Francisco 49ers for a conditional fourth round pick in 2015 Draft that could become a third round selection.[14]

In the 2014 season Johnson posted the lowest numbers since his sophomore season, totaling 35 receptions for 435 yards and 3 touchdowns. On March 15, 2015, Johnson was released by the 49ers.[15]

San Diego Chargers

On March 17, 2015, Johnson signed a three-year, $12 million contract with the San Diego Chargers.[16] Johnson had a fast start to 2015, but was hampered by recurring injuries later through the season. He finished the season with 45 receptions for 497 yards and 3 touchdowns.[17]

On August 10, 2016, it was reported that Johnson would be out for the entirety of the 2016 season after having surgery to repair his meniscus.[18]

On March 7, 2017, Johnson was released by the Chargers.[19]

Career statistics

Season Team Games Receiving Rushing Fumbles
GP Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Att Yds Avg Lng TD FUM Lost
Regular Season
2008 BUF 11 10 102 10.2 21 2 1 6 6 6 - - -
2009 BUF 5 2 10 5 5 0 - - - - - - -
2010 BUF 16 82 1,073 13.1 45 10 - - - - - 1 1
2011 BUF 16 76 1,004 13.2 55 7 - - - - - - -
2012 BUF 16 79 1,046 13.2 63 6 - - - - - 1 0
2013 BUF 12 52 597 11.5 45 3 1 10 10 10 - 1 0
2014 SF 13 35 435 12.4 32 3 - - - - - - -
2015 SD 10 45 497 11.0 34 3 - - - - - 1 0
Total 99 381 4,764 12.5 63 34 2 16 8 10 0 4 1
No playoff appearances


Playing style

During his prime, Johnson was known for his unorthodox route-running skills and footwork, which he attributes to playing basketball. Johnson used his shiftiness to confuse defensive backs and get open, making up for his average size and speed.[21][22][23]

Personal life

Johnson is the cousin of bay-area rapper Ya Boy and Kawhi Leonard, forward for the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association (NBA).[24]

In 2014, he showed off his multiple tattoos for PETA's "Ink not Mink" anti-fur campaign.[25]

Since retiring from the NFL, Johnson has taken a head-coaching job for his former high school football team.[26]


  1. ^ "ESPN Profile".
  2. ^ Wojton, Nick (July 17, 2018). "DraftWire names 5 best draft steals in Buffalo Bills history". Bills Wire. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  3. ^ "Prospect Profile Search".
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 10, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Bills WR Johnson Fined $10,000 For TD Celebration". Buffalo Rumblings. October 1, 2010.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 1, 2011. Retrieved January 8, 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Steve Johnson celebrates TD with a Joker quote on his shirt".
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 4, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Mandell, Nina (November 28, 2010). "Steve Johnson, Buffalo Bills wideout, blames God on Twitter after dropping game-winning pass". New York Daily News. Retrieved November 28, 2010.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 7, 2011. Retrieved March 7, 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Bills bench WR Johnson after T-shirt celebration".
  12. ^ "Bills sign star receiver Johnson to extension".
  13. ^ Sessler, Marc (September 13, 2013). "EJ Manuel guides Buffalo Bills past Carolina Panthers". Retrieved April 28, 2019.
  14. ^ Patra, Kevin (May 9, 2014). "San Francisco 49ers acquire Stevie Johnson from Bills". Retrieved May 10, 2014.
  15. ^ Price, Taylor. "Stevie Johnson Released by 49ers". Archived from the original on March 14, 2015. Retrieved March 12, 2015.
  16. ^ Patra, Kevin (March 17, 2015). "Stevie Johnson, San Diego Chargers strike contract". Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  17. ^ Williams, Eric D. (May 20, 2016). "Stevie Johnson focused on staying healthy in second year with Chargers - San Diego Chargers Blog - ESPN". Retrieved May 21, 2016.
  18. ^ Rapoport, Ian (August 10, 2016). "Following surgery to repair his meniscus yesterday, #Chargers WR Stevie Johnson has learned he's out for the season, source said". Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  19. ^ Henne, Ricky (March 7, 2017). "Chargers Release Trio of Vets Including CB Brandon Flowers".
  20. ^ "Steve Johnson Stats". Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  21. ^ Galliford, Brian (June 28, 2012). "Stevie Johnson's route-running explained". Buffalo Rumblings. SB Nation. Retrieved March 14, 2020.
  22. ^ Silagyi, Kyle (February 6, 2019). "Chad Johnson thinks this former Bills WR had 'better footwork' than him". Bills Wire. USA Today Sports. Retrieved March 14, 2020.
  23. ^ Tomlinson, Sean (October 29, 2014). "Why the San Francisco 49ers Need to Give Stevie Johnson a Larger Role". Bleacher Report. Retrieved March 14, 2020.
  24. ^ Henne, Ricky (August 3, 2015). "The Lightning Report". Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  25. ^ "Stevie Johnson Shows Off Ink for PETA," Inked, November 17, 2014.
  26. ^ "Stevie Johnson named head coach of his high school alma mater". Bills Wire. USA Today Sports. February 14, 2020. Retrieved March 14, 2020.

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