Bears bring Johnson home

LAKE FOREST -- Thanks to the Bears, Terry "Tank" Johnson is coming home.

"I grew up a Bears fan living in Gary, Ind.," Johnson said Saturday night after being chosen in the second round of the NFL draft. "Just the chance to come live in Chicago, being close to my family -- mainly my grandmother and grandfather -- it's going to be a great opportunity."

Johnson, a defensive tackle out of the University of Washington, said he was born in Gary, IN and lived there until he was 7.

The 6-2, 304-pound defensive tackle calls Chandler, Ariz., home these days but said most of his family is still in Northwest Indiana and throughout the Midwest.

His grandparents, Harvey and Alice Johnson live in Gary, and he has another grandfather in a retirement home in Hammond. He said his dad, Terry Sr., is a West Side graduate. He called Brenda Hanserd his "adoptive mother."

A gifted athlete, Johnson was originally recruited as a tight end. He spent time at both defensive end and tackle at Washington, finishing with 15 career sacks, including 10 this past season.

Johnson, who also drew some attention from college recruiters as a standout volleyball player, picked up the nickname "Tank" in college.

"It came from me being aggressive and how I play the game," Johnson said. "As a youngster at the University of Washington one of the upperclassman said, 'Man, you run people over like a tank.' From then on, I was known as Tank Johnson."

Johnson had some character issues coming into the draft, but says he's put all that behind him.

"Right now I have a clean slate with the Chicago Bears," Johnson said. "I'm not too concerned about it because I know I have great character, a great family and a great mother."

Johnson, an All-Pac 10 second-team selection, started every game this past season. He started the first six games at weakside defensive tackle and was the starting weakside defensive end in four contests.

Johnson's 10 sacks last season were the third most in a single season in Washington history. The versatile Johnson even picked off a Chris Simms pass in the 2001 Holiday Bowl, returning it 38 yards for a touchdown.

The Bears selected Oklahoma defensive tackle Tommie Harris with their first pick, the 14th overall.

"You're going to like Tank in this scheme and you're going to like him on Sundays," Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said. "Usually you don't see teams take two players at the same position, but we felt so strongly about Johnson.

"We just felt the quality and the value of the position was too good to pass (up)."

Bear Report Top Stories