Coach Mike Sherman said today that Johnson failed his physical because of a stress fracture in his foot. Johnson sustained the injury earlier this off-season while working out. He did not participate in either of the team's minicamps, or opportunity sessions.
"He will be a PUP (physically unable to perform list) candidate for us," Sherman said. Johnson, selected in the seventh round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Packers, has the ability to run the 40-yard dash in the 4.2-second range. But he injured his knee in a training camp practice collision with Donald Driver in 2003. Prior to the 2004 camp, he sustained a stress fracture in his shin that kept him out all of last season. Prior to the post-draft minicamp he suffered a recurrence of the same injury.
"I don't think it really healed last time and I came off of it a little bit too early and I kind of re-irritated it," Johnson said in April. "So I'm taking more inputs on it. I'm taking more calcium. I wasn't taking enough calcium in my body before and my bones weren't healing right, so I'm doing different things now and hopefully by June 1, the next mini-camp, I'll be able to come out and start competing again."
Johnson will be out indefinitely. He faces an uphill battle to make the roster upon his return. Fifth-round draft pick, Mike Hawkins, who is just as fast if not faster than Johnson got off to a good start in the post-draft mini-camp. Hawkins, who was consistently timed in the 4.2 range for the 40-yard draft in pre-draft workouts, had a couple of interceptions in the mini-camp and caught the eye of coaches.
Second-year pro Joey Thomas and Jason Horton also will be in competition for the backup spots behind starting cornerbacks Al Harris and Ahmad Carroll. Plus, free agents Patrick Dendy and Leigh Torrence have played well in minicamps.
"Hopefully we can get him back on the field," said Sherman. "He's had some ups and downs. Hopefully, we're getting closer to that point where he can get on the field."
Free agent linebacker Roy Manning (oblique muscle) and defensive end Seante Williams (infection) also did not pass their physicals. Sherman said he is hoping both players will be able to begin practicing soon.