|Born:||May 15, 1986|
|Height:||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Weight:||219 lb (99 kg)|
|High school:||Oakland Tech|
|NFL Draft:||2008 / Round: 5 / Pick: 160|
|* Offseason and/or practice squad member only|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of 2020|
|Player stats at NFL.com · PFR|
Joshua Javon Johnson (born May 15, 1986) is an American football quarterback who is a free agent. He played college football for the San Diego Toreros and was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Considered a journeyman quarterback, Johnson has been a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers, Sacramento Mountain Lions, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts, Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, New York Giants, Houston Texans, Oakland Raiders, Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, San Diego Fleet, and Los Angeles Wildcats. Despite playing for sixteen teams across four leagues during his professional career, he did not win his first game as a starter until his 11th season as a member of the Redskins in 2018.
Johnson attended Oakland Technical High School and was a letterman in football, basketball, and track & field. In football, as a senior, he was named the team's Most Improved Player, was a first team All-City selection, and led his team to the Oakland Athletic League Championship. He was also a teammate of cousin Marshawn Lynch.
Josh Johnson enrolled at University of San Diego in 2004, where he played backup quarterback to Todd Mortensen. He finished with 135 yards on the season.
Johnson earned the starting job after Mortensen's departure for the 2005 season. That season, he earned some All-America honors after breaking numerous records. Johnson, who earned three conference player of the week honors, totaled eight games with four or more passing touchdowns. His best game of the season came against Valparaiso, when he threw for a school-record seven touchdowns (all coming in the first half). He also had five touchdowns and 375 yards against Morehead State in the Pioneer Football League Championship victory. Johnson finished the season with 3,256 yards and 36 touchdowns, completing 70.1% of his passes en route to being named team MVP.
After his record-setting sophomore season, Johnson continued his prosperity by being named third-team Associated Press All-America on his junior season. He was also named PFL Offensive Player of the Year as he led San Diego to a 10–0 start. He also led San Diego to their first Top 25 appearance in school history. Johnson finished his season with 3,320 yards and 34 touchdowns passing, and 720 yards and 11 touchdowns rushing. He led the FCS in total offense, passing efficiency, passing yards, and points responsible for. Johnson totaled four games with over 300 yards passing, while his season-best was a 384-yard performance against Jacksonville. Johnson also had a 25-yard reception touchdown on the season. In the victory over Jacksonville, Johnson also set a school-record with 470 total yards of offense. Johnson finished 6th in the voting for the Walter Payton Award, for the best player in the FCS.
After two tremendous seasons, Johnson entered the 2007 season on the Walter Payton Award watchlist and as a Preseason All-American. In Johnson's first game of the season, he passed for 403 yards and 4 touchdowns. He then followed it up with two straight games of six touchdowns. Against Davidson College, Johnson passed for a career-high 428 yards and 6 touchdowns. Johnson finished the season with 2,988 yards and a school-record 43 touchdowns passing, one interception, and a career-high 726 yards and two touchdowns rushing. Johnson finished the season as the school's record-holder in career touchdown passes and passing yards; he already owned the school record for career completions. Johnson finished the season by being named a third-team FCS All-American and a Payton Award finalist. Johnson holds the record for the highest career passer efficiency (176.68) in NCAA Division-I football history. He finished third in voting for the Walter Payton Award behind winner Jayson Foster.
After his senior football season, Johnson was invited to play in the 2008 East–West Shrine Game in Houston, Texas, and was named the game's Offensive MVP after finishing the game with 5 completions out of 11 pass attempts for 78 yards and a touchdown and 103 rushing yards on three attempts.
Despite his small school background, Johnson had his name on many team's draft boards. He was aided by his impressive NFL Combine performances, in which he posted the best 40-yard dash time (4.53) and vertical jump of any quarterback in the 2008 NFL Combine. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 25th pick of the fifth round (160th overall) in 2008 NFL Draft. He has been referred to as a journeyman quarterback for his stints with many different NFL teams.
|Height||Weight||40-yard dash||10-yard split||20-yard split||20-yard shuttle||Three-cone drill||Vertical jump||Broad jump||Wonderlic|
|6 ft 3 in
|4.53 s||1.53 s||2.61 s||4.42 s||7.56 s||331⁄2||9 ft 2 in
|All values from NFL Combine|
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Johnson made his first appearance in a regular season NFL game on September 27, 2009, at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium against the New York Giants. When Johnson replaced Byron Leftwich as Tampa Bay's quarterback with 9:33 remaining, the Buccaneers had accumulated only 35 total yards and one first down against the favored Giants. Taking his first pro snap, Johnson found Antonio Bryant for 6 yards, marking the afternoon's first reception by a Tampa Bay wide receiver. Johnson ran for 15 yards and added three more completions for 30 yards as the Buccaneers finished with 86 yards in a 24–0 loss. Johnson drove the Buccaneers from their own 24 to the New York five-yard line in his only possession. One of Johnson's passes zipped through Michael Clayton's hands in the end zone.
Johnson was named the starting quarterback on September 28, and earned his first career start on October 4 in a 16–13 loss to the Washington Redskins. He threw his first career touchdown pass to Antonio Bryant on his first pass of the game. During the 2010 season, Johnson notched a 95.6 passer rating as backup quarterback, and also made appearances in the offense's wildcat formation. Johnson was a backup to Josh Freeman in 2010, completing 14 of 16 passes for 111 yards.
On December 4, 2011, Johnson started in place of the injured Josh Freeman against the Carolina Panthers. Johnson completed 16 of his 27 passing attempts with 229 passing yards, one touchdown pass, and one interception. Tampa Bay lost the game 38–19. He also made a brief appearance the following week, but attempted only two passes, one for three yards, and the other an interception.
San Francisco 49ers
On March 24, 2012, Johnson signed a two-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers, reuniting with his coach from the University of San Diego, Jim Harbaugh. On August 31, Johnson was one of 21 players cut as the 49ers trimmed their roster to the 53-man limit for the regular season.
Sacramento Mountain Lions
On December 26, 2012, the Cleveland Browns announced they signed Johnson after injuries to Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy. After an injury to starter Thad Lewis, Johnson played for one snap in a Week 17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The single snap resulted in a sack fumble.
San Francisco 49ers (second stint)
Johnson signed with the San Francisco 49ers in May 2014. He was released on September 20, re-signed on September 23, released again on October 10, and re-signed on October 14. Johnson was repeatedly signed and released to give the 49ers a 54th roster spot.
Cincinnati Bengals (second stint)
New York Jets
On October 2, 2015, Johnson signed with the Indianapolis Colts due to an injury to starter Andrew Luck. He was released on October 5, but subsequently re-signed on October 7, and was released yet again on October 12.
New York Giants
Johnson was signed by the Houston Texans on November 7, 2017, after the release of Matt McGloin. He was released by the Texans on November 22. He was re-signed on December 27, after an injury to Taylor Heinicke.
San Diego Fleet
On December 5, 2018, Johnson signed a one-year contract with the Washington Redskins to be a backup to Mark Sanchez after season-ending injuries to Colt McCoy and Alex Smith. Johnson said he played a Madden NFL video game to help learn the names of his new teammates.
On December 9, Johnson appeared in his first game after Sanchez was benched against the New York Giants in the third quarter of a 40–16 loss. It was Johnson's first appearance in an NFL game since 2013 with the Cincinnati Bengals. He finished the game completing 11 passes from 16 attempts for 195 yards, one touchdown (his first touchdown since 2011 with the Buccaneers) and an interception. He also rushed for 45 yards and his first career rushing touchdown on seven attempts. After the game, it was announced that Johnson would be the starter for the next game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The game resulted in a 16–13 victory, his first career win as a starting quarterback in the NFL. The following game, on December 22, 2018, Johnson and the Redskins faced the Tennessee Titans in a crucial Week 16 match-up to maintain their playoff hopes. Despite leading for most of the game, Washington's defense allowed a costly go-ahead touchdown with about four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Down 19–16, Johnson attempted to lead the Redskins down the field for a potential game-tying drive, but was intercepted first by safety Kevin Byard and then by Malcolm Butler after the Redskins managed to get the ball back with 14 seconds remaining. Washington would go on to lose 25–16, essentially ending their playoff chances. Johnson finished 13-of-23 with 153 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. He started the Week 17 finale against the Philadelphia Eagles. He passed for 91 yards and an interception in the 24–0 loss. He had ankle surgery after the season and was unable to return to the San Diego Fleet when his contract with the team expired.
Los Angeles Wildcats
On November 22, 2019, Johnson was allocated to the Los Angeles Wildcats of the XFL as part of the 2020 XFL Supplemental Draft. On November 25, 2019, the Detroit Lions tried to re-sign Johnson but the XFL did not allow him to leave his contract with the Wildcats. Despite the Wildcats finishing 2–3 in the 5 game COVID-19 pandemic shortened season season in 2020, Johnson performed admirably in 4 games (missing week 1 with an injury) by converting 60% of his passes, completing 81 out of 135 attempts for 1,076 yards for 11 touchdowns against only 2 interceptions for a QB rating of 106.3. As a result, Johnson was named the highest graded quarterback in the XFL by Pro Football Focus. He had his contract terminated when the league suspended operations on April 10, 2020.
San Francisco 49ers (third stint)
Johnson was signed to the San Francisco 49ers' practice squad on November 11, 2020. He was placed on the practice squad/COVID-19 list by the team on December 22, 2020, and restored to the practice squad on December 31. He signed a reserve/future contract on January 15, 2021. On June 1, 2021, Johnson was released by the 49ers.
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Media related to Josh Johnson (American football player born 1986) at Wikimedia Commons