A Bengal for five seasons (2009-13) and the team’s franchise player in ’13, Johnson returns to Cincinnati as a major free agent acquisition after spending 2014 with Tampa Bay ... Logged 11.5 sacks for Bengals in ’12, and in ’13 he led Cincinnati defensive line tackles (74) and had 33 QB pressures with 3.5 sacks ... Played in 79 of a possible 80 regular-season games during his first Bengals stint and also played in all four Cincinnati postseason games in that period.
Career transactions: Selected by Cincinnati in third round of 2009 NFL Draft (70th overall) ... Signed with Bengals on 7-29-09 ... Designated as Bengals franchise player on 3-1-13 ... Re-signed with Bengals as designated franchise player on 3-15-13 ... Signed with Tampa Bay as unrestricted free agent on 3-14-14 ... Contract terminated by Buccaneers on 3-11-15 ... Signed with Cincinnati as free agent on 3-15-15.
2014 highlights: Played in 14 games for Tampa Bay, starting 13 ... Totaled 27 tackles, including five for-loss, four sacks and two forced fumbles ... In upset win Sept. 28 at Pittsburgh, set up Bucs for an early 7-0 lead when he sacked Ben Roethlisberger at Steelers nine on game’s third scrimmage play, forcing a fumble that Tampa Bay recovered at the five ... Also at Pittsburgh, had three-yard sack of Roethlisberger in second quarter, and part of defensive front that limited the Steelers’ top-ranked rushing attack to 85 yards on 27 carries ... On Nov. 16 at Washington, recorded two tackles, including a sack ... On Dec. 21 vs. Green Bay, recorded three tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble.
Previous seasons: 2009—Increased his role as his rookie season progressed and led Bengals D-line in passes defensed (five), including key PD in win over Detroit ... Tied for seventh in special teams tackles (seven) ... Had his first entry in sacks column Nov. 8 vs. Baltimore, when he shared a fourth-down, fourth-quarter drop of Joe Flacco to seal victory ... On Dec. 6 vs. Detroit, deflected a Matt Stafford pass that DE Jonathan Fanene intercepted for 45-yard TD, tying score at 7-7 in second quarter ... Also vs. Detroit, had his first solo sack, a nine-yarder against Stafford ... In division-clinching win Dec. 27 vs. Kansas City, had eight-yard sack of Matt Cassel and a fourth-quarter pass defensed to force a punt ... Tied for special teams tackles lead (two) in Wild Card playoff on 1-9-10 vs. N.Y. Jets. 2010—Switched from DE to LB for start of season, but resumed seeing DE action when starters were out with injuries ... Had 10 starts at DE for the year, including the last eight games ... Led Bengals in tackles-for-loss (eight), second in QB pressures (17), and tied for front-seven lead in passes defensed (four) ... On Dec. 12 at Pittsburgh, led line with eight tackles, including a sack, and his five QB pressures tied Bengals’ individual game high for season ... 2011—Led front-seven in passes defensed (six) ... Was first of two Bengals in 2011 to log an entry in every column of defensive stat sheet (tackles, sacks, passes defensed, INTs, forced fumbles and fumble recoveries) ... In win Sept. 11 at Cleveland, had team’s first INT of season in fourth quarter and tied for team lead in total passes defensed (three) ... Had seven tackles on Sept. 18 at Denver, including a sack and forced fumble against Kyle Orton ... Had a nine-yard sack of Curtis Painter on Oct. 16 vs. Indianapolis, and also recovered a first-quarter fumble from Colts TE Dallas Clark ... Seven tackles in key win Dec. 4 at Pittsburgh, including eight-yard sack and two tackles for loss ... One tackle in Wild Card playoff on 1-7-12 at Houston. 2012—His 11.5 sacks were second-most by a Bengal since 1983, topped only by Geno Atkins’ 12.5 (also in ’12) ... Second on D-line in tackles (70) and had an INT, a fumble recovery and three passes defensed ... Third on team in both QB pressures (25) and tackles-for-loss (seven) ... Played in all 16 games, with 15 starts at RDE (Games 1-13 and 15-16) ... Also started in Wild Card playoff ... Named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance Sept. 23 at Washington, when he recorded career-high 3.0 (for 17 yards) against Robert Griffin III and was also credited by coaches with five additional QB pressures while leading line with seven total tackles ... His three tackles Sept. 16 vs. Cleveland included a five-yard sack of Brandon Weeden, and he recovered a Chris Ogbonnaya fumble at Browns 43 in second quarter ... On Oct. 14 at Cleveland, intercepted a deflected Brandon Weeden pass in first quarter, setting up a TD ... Personal season-high 10 tackles (led D-line and second on team) in playoff-clinching win on Dec. 23 at Pittsburgh, including an eight-yard sack of Ben Roethlisberger ... Three tackles Dec. 30 vs. Baltimore, including two sacks — one of Joe Flacco and one of Tyrod Taylor ... Five tackles in Wild Card playoff on 1-5-13 at Houston. 2013—Played in 15 Bengals games, missing only Oct. 6 vs. New England, due to concussion suffered Sept. 29 at Cleveland ... Despite missing one game, he led defensive line and ranked third on team with 74 tackles ... Had 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and an INT ... Second on line with nine passes defensed and second on team with 33 QB pressures ... On Sept. 8 at Chicago, recorded five tackles (led line) ... Credited by coaches with eight QB pressures (tied for team high for season) on Sept. 16 vs. Pittsburgh ... On Sept. 22 vs. Green Bay, initiated the game-winning play when he stopped RB Johnathan Franklin for no gain on fourth-and-one play in fourth quarter and forced a fumble that Bengals returned for TD ... Also vs. Green Bay, had a five-yard sack and a shared eight-yard sack of Aaron Rodgers ... Five tackles, one pass defensed and a team-high six QB pressures Oct. 20 at Detroit ... Five tackles, including a seven-yard sack of Ryan Tannehill in fourth quarter, on Oct. 31 at Miami ... On Nov. 17 vs. Cleveland, made first key play in comeback win when he deflected a pass that James Harrison intercepted to set up first Bengals TD ... Also vs. Cleveland, had a fourth-quarter INT, a shared sack and forced fumble, and additional pass defensed, two QB pressures and five tackles (tied for line lead) ... Five tackles and team-high three QB pressures Dec. 22 vs. Minnesota ... Had seven tackles including an eight-yard shared sack Dec. 29 vs. Baltimore ... Three tackles in Wild Card playoff vs. San Diego on 1-5-14.
College: Played in 49 games over four seasons (2005-08) at Georgia Tech ... Team captain as senior, he broke into starting lineup, and his nine sacks helped him earn first-team All-America honors from American Football Coaches Association ... Though he played only one year as a starter, he finished career as a significant playmaker, with 19 sacks, 10 forced fumbles, three blocked FGs and 30.5 tackles for loss ... Posted 17.5 of his tackles for loss as a senior starter ... Having been 10 classes short of his college degree when he was drafted by the Bengals in 2009, Johnson returned to Georgia Tech to complete those courses in the offseasons of ’11, ’13 and ’15 to earn his bachelor’s degree in business administration, which he received in May of ’15.
Personal: Hometown is Selma, Ala. ... Attended Dallas County High School, playing DE and TE, and as a senior, he caught 42-for-650 with six TDs while adding 92 tackles with 14 sacks ... Also an outstanding prep basketball player, averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds as a junior ... Hobbies include playing spades and basketball ... Enjoys community work with children’s causes, and has started a foundation, the MJ93 Fund ... This past March, returned to his hometown to attend the Selma 50th Anniversary Bridge Crossing Jubilee, commemorating the historic 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights march.
When Cornelius Ford, who hasn't worked since April, sits down with his three children this Thursday for dinner in Selma, Ala., Michael Johnson is near the top of his list.
After a career-high 11.5 sacks, a nod as the Bengals franchise player, and a spring semester that puts him closer to his Georgia Tech degree, Michael Johnson's community commitment keeps rolling along this weekend.
With an eye to keeping intact one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, the Bengals put the franchise tag on right end Michael Johnson to virtually secure his services for the 2013 season with a one-year offer in the $11 million range.
You've got to scramble to find Michael Johnson nowadays on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Your best shot is between Financial Management, where he is bonding with hedge funds, and Earth and Atmospheric Science, where his 85 on the semester's first test lifted him into the region above the class average of 78.