Charles Johnson fell back in love with football in the AAF

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Charles Johnson had been an NFL player. That wasn’t the same as enjoying football.

To get back to that point, it took a stint in the minors, which opened his eyes to the things he enjoyed about the game.

The former Vikings wide receiver was out of football after being cut by the Jets in the preseason last year, but had a solid stint in Orlando in the AAF, and came back to the Eagles refreshed.

“I played freely, [there were] no politics involved,” Johnson said, via Mike Kaye of NJ.com. “The best players were going to play . . . it was all about the love of the game.”

After spending time on the Packers’ and Browns’ practice squads as a rookie, Johnson was solid but not spectacular for the Vikings in 2014, with 31 catches for 475 yards and two touchdowns. That was as good as it got, however, as he struggled with injuries and inconsistency, and bounced through stints with the Panthers and Jets before trying to re-establish himself in the AAF.

Johnson caught 45 passes for 687 yards and five touchdowns for the vaunted Apollos, under coach Steve Spurrier. And Johnson said he was energized by Spurrier approach, and his insistence that experienced players had to earn playing time every week in practice.

“On film, I see myself smiling,” Johnson said. “The AAF was really fun. I really miss it. I miss the guys that I played around and I miss all of the atmosphere. It was great, I thought it was going to be a really good league. Unfortunately, it folded but that’s how it is. . . .

“I kind of lost that love at one point in my career in the NFL. And I found it again, so I’m just trying to enjoy it, I’m trying to be happy with everything and not worry about too much.”

He’s now competing for a job in a deep receiving group with the Eagles, signing after the Eagles traded for DeSean Jackson, and before they spent a second-round pick on J.J. Arcega-Whiteside to go along with Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor.

But he’s used to competing again, and enjoying his work.

14 responses to “Charles Johnson fell back in love with football in the AAF

  1. He enjoyed it because as a WR he wasn’t going against the best of the best anymore and he could show out. Now he’s back in the mix with the cream of the crop and will fizzle out.

  2. jonathankrobinson424 says:
    June 10, 2019 at 11:03 am
    Passion is 50% of the game. Glad he found it again…he had at least on great year with the Vikings that I remember.

    ____

    “…31 catches for 475 yards and two touchdowns.”

    That’s “great” to you?

  3. Adds weight to the words “No Fun” in No Fun League (NFL). Run too much as a business with players pieces of business material. Hence long games, too many commercials……..

    Ever go to a game? There are periods of time with players just standing on the field doing nothing and a striped shirt on the sidelines with his arm up. Could be a couple minutes like that just waiting. When the arm goes down they line up to play. That are up is the TV time out. Gotta get the commercials in. Gotta run the business. Good momentum killer. The players are just pawns.

  4. I kind of lost that love at one point in my career in the NFL. And I found it again…

    Probably about the same time he ran out of money.

  5. Had great hands, but was injured quite a bit for the Vikes. He faces the classic modern NFL vet problem in the salary cap era (or at least once the QB signs the big contract)– competing with younger cheaper players for the last couple roster spots.

  6. This article is the time of our sign. I mean there is a very heavy amount of thumbs ups in arguments promoting the AAF having more freedom and enjoyment by fans who watched it, yet it fell apart and no longer exists even though the NFL helped to promote it! It makes no sense at all. I hope Johnson can prove his worth and give him a ton of credit for being so honest as to why he loved the AAF because just saying that is not helping him get a job with the Eagles in the NFL. Personally, he was shown the door based on NFL standards he failed. There is nothing new about that when the average career years of one player is 3 years in the NFL…

  7. “…31 catches for 475 yards and two touchdowns.”

    That’s “great” to you?
    ————————————————
    Well, that’s also 15.3 yards per catch, so honestly, which is higher than Antonio Brown’s best year.

  8. “Ever go to a game? There are periods of time with players just standing on the field doing nothing and a striped shirt on the sidelines with his arm up.”

    I’m totally with you. I’m a big fan of the NFL generally, but I’d rather go to the dentist than go through the trouble of going to a game. It’s great on TV, but the live experience is boring and feels like going to the airport, only more expensive.

  9. So he must have lost it while playing for the Vikings. Makes perfect sense.

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