One year and three days after leaving the team that drafted him in Round 3 of the 2009 NFL Draft, Michael Johnson has returned to Cincinnati.
Multiple sources report that the Bengals and the defensive end have agreed to terms with Bengals.com calling it a four-year deal. Cincinnati beat out former defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and the Minnesota Vikings in the pursuit of Johnson’s signature.
Welcome back Michael Johnson pic.twitter.com/u9Cj4feHjn
— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) March 15, 2015
According to his comments on Bengals.com, it seemed the desire to come home was just too much to pass up.
“Next to Selma, Alabama, this is my home,” Johnson said. “Everything from my brothers on the field, to the community, to the stadium tours I did with the kids. Everything about it. Im’ blessed. How many people get to do this?”
In Johnson’s absence, the Bengals dipped from third to 22nd in yards allowed and their sack total dipped from 43 to 20. While other factors were at play, the departures of Johnson and Zimmer were arguably the two key losses.
Johnson’s return could play a large role in the defense’s potential 2015 revival. Also aiding the unit will be Geno Atkins and A.J. Hawk. The former entering his second year after major knee surgery and potentially moving closer to 100 percent. The latter an added veteran presence in the linebacking corps after coming over from Green Bay this offseason.
While Nick Fairley would have certainly helped, Michael Johnson was rightfully the No. 1 target after his release. With Johnson back in the fold with Atkins and Dunlap, we’ll get to see the “Fisher Price” package wreak havoc in opposing backfields for years to come.