Johnson has his Day with Bears

Chicago has become the place for thirty something year old quarterbacks over the past week. Brad Johnson paid a visit to Halas Hall on Thursday.

The Bears have been mentioned in connection with basically every veteran quarterback on the free agent market. Johnson sandwiched the meeting with the Bears between a trip to Detroit on Wednesday and visit to Miami set for Friday.

Johnson has played for three different teams, four different coaches and is looking for consistency at this point in his career.

"I think it's the stability within the organization, the coaching situation, proven coordinator, guys that have won in this league, a team that looks like it's on the rise," Johnson said. "Obviously here it's a great situation for someone, hopefully it's me here in Chicago. With the defense and the things that have happened in free agency and to hopefully eventually play."

Trying to combat rumors that he has lost arm strength, the 36-year old agreed to throw for both the Lions and Bears and will do the same for the Dolphins.

"I haven't had any balls hit low," Johnson said. "They've all been on the money with a lot of zip, so it's funny how one thing it kind of snowballs when something is said."

Johnson admits he has found it strange that he hasn't seen more interest considering there are only five active Super Bowl winning quarterbacks in the league.

"I'm on the attack mode. I want to play; I want to be the starter," Johnson said. "But right now there's a different situation (in free agency) that's been thrown (at me) for me (to deal with)."

However, the six-foot-5, 226-pound Johnson still feels he has a lot to offer after 13 years in the NFL.

"The great thing about the way I play, I still feel like I'm the same guy that played at 28," Johnson said. "I make quick decisions, I get the ball out of my hands fast, hit my second hitch, I'm looking for a check down, throw it away, I don't take a lot of sacks, try to get the team in manageable situations, give the team a chance to play."

While Johnson has the desire to be a starter, he played a supporting role for the majority of the season in Tampa Bay. Brian Griese assumed the starting job after four games and Johnson didn't play the rest of the season.

Johnson acknowledged he would be coming into a similar situation in Chicago, Detroit or Miami. All three teams have young quarterbacks that will be given the first opportunity to play and Johnson will be nothing more than a backup unless something goes wrong up top.

"In those situations, they're going to get the first chance to be the starter and go from there," Johnson said.

The Dolphins released Jay Fiedler earlier this off-season and are looking for a veteran to backup A.J. Feeley. The consensus is that Gus Frerotte will end up with the Dolphins, meaning Johnson will be left with a choice between Detroit and Chicago.

"So if it's here, I'll be Rex's biggest fan. If it's in Detroit I'll be Joey's biggest fan," Johnson said. "But I'm not somewhere for my health, you know there's a reason (I'm still playing). I'm trying to get my second Super Bowl win, so hopefully it happens for one of these organizations."

Johnson has several ties to the Bears. Former offensive coordinator John Shoop was his quarterbacks coach last season in Tampa Bay. Ron Turner's brother, Norv, was Johnson's head coach for his two years in Washington. As a rookie for the Vikings in 1992, Johnson beat out current Bears quarterback coach Wade Wilson for a roster spot. Wilson went on to play eight more years in the league for a career total of 19, so the pair can look back at the situation with humor.

"I did run Wade out," Johnson said. "I took his locker. I actually wore his shoes. For my first preseason game he left some extra shoes. I was a punk with no shoes, nothing, I was happy to be there. But Wade has always been good to me. We've laughed about it now. A nineteen-year career, so hopefully I've got 6 more (years) left in me too."


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