After four season in Tampa, Josh Johnson signed a two-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers Thursday night. Johnson will be reunited with his former college coach Jim Harbaugh.
Josh Johnson is going back home. After four years in Tampa, three as a backup to Josh Freeman, Johnson signed a two-year contract with the 49ers, and will be reunited with his former college coach Jim Harbaugh.
Speaking to PewterReport.com by phone tonight, Johnson was excited to announce he had chosen the San Francisco 49ers over the Washington Redskins, but said the decision was more difficult than people might have thought.
“Both places seemed like great opportunities for me,” Johnson said. “I met with the Redskins yesterday and really liked what I saw. They presented a great opportunity for me.”
“But it boiled down to a combination of a few things. First, the chance to go back home and be close to my family, and then also to play for an organization that I grew up loving and following. And lastly being able to play for coach Harbaugh again. I know what he expects, and I know how he pushes his players to be their best. When I weighed all of those things it just felt right to sign with San Francisco.”
Johnson was drafted by former Bucs head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen in the fifth round of the 2008 draft after wowing scouts at the NFL Combine by running a 4.44 and showing versatility and athleticism.
After not seeing action as a rookie, Johnson was given a chance in the starting lineup in 2009 replacing Byron Leftwitch. Johnson started four games for Tampa Bay that season but was unable to retain the starting job.
While in college at the University of San Diego Johnson (coached by Harbaugh) amassed 1,581 yards on the ground including 13 rushing touchdowns. Johnson wasn’t an option-run only quarterback as he passed for more than 9,500 yards and 113 touchdowns, setting several school and conference records.
“There was certain comfort level I had with coach Harbaugh and I enjoyed the most success under him,” Johnson said. “I know what to expect and what I will get playing for him again.”
The 49ers re-signed Alex Smith on Wednesday but Johnson said that didn’t play into his decision one way or another.
“No not really,” Johnson said. “We (Johnson and Harbaugh) didn’t get into any specifics on what my role will be. All I know is I will get a fair chance to compete, to get better everyday and be pushed as a quarterback.”
Bucs starting quarterback Josh Freeman was happy for his friend.
"I couldn't be happier for JJ," Freeman told PewterReport.com. "He's one hell of a football player and an even better person. He's living the dream. Having the chance to go back home and getting to play for the team he grew up loving, not to mention being close to family and playing for his college coach. I would have loved to have him as a teammate for a few more years, but for JJ this is perfect! Couldn't have happened to a better guy."
Johnson, while excited about going home, said he would miss Tampa Bay.
“I just want to say I really appreciate the Buccaneers organization and Glazer family for allowing the chance to play in the NFL,” Johnson said. “I really enjoyed the fans and the city and I will miss it and will never forget it.
“And maybe one day when I’m old I’ll move back and get me a cheap retirement home and finish my days back in Tampa.”
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