Josh Johnson (quarterback)

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Josh Johnson
refer to caption
Johnson with the Bengals in 2013
No. 8 Buffalo Bills
Position: Quarterback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1986-05-15) May 15, 1986 (age 29)
Place of birth: Oakland, California
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight: 210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
High school: Oakland (CA) Technical
College: San Diego
NFL draft: 2008 / Round: 5 / Pick: 160
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2014
TDINT: 5–10
Passing yards: 1,042
QB Rating: 57.7
Rushing yards: 274
Rushing TDs: 0
Player stats at

Joshua "Josh" Johnson (born May 15, 1986) is an American football quarterback for the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League (NFL).. He played college football at San Diego, and was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Johnson has been a member of the Sacramento Mountain Lions, Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts.

Early years[edit]

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 is the cousin to Seattle Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch, according to E:60.

College career[edit]


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.[1]

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.

Professional career[edit]

2008 NFL Draft[edit]

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 (4.44[2]), broad jump and vertical jump of any quarterback in the 2008 NFL Combine.[3] He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 25th pick of the fifth round (160th overall) in 2008 NFL Draft.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers[edit]

Johnson with the Buccaneers, 2009


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 5-yard line in his only possession. One of Johnson's passes zipped through Michael Clayton's hands in the end zone.[4]

Johnson was named the starting quarterback on September 28, 2009 and earned his first career start on October 4 in a 16-13 loss to the Washington Redskins. He threw his first career touchdown to Antonio Bryant on his first pass of the game.[5] During the 2010 season, Johnson notched a 95.6 passer rating as backup quarterback, and also made appearances in the offense's wildcat formation.


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 3 yards, and the other an interception.

San Francisco 49ers[edit]

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.[6] On August 31, 2012, Johnson was one of 21 players cut as the 49ers trimmed their roster to the 53 man limit for the regular season.[7]

Johnson tried out for the Chicago Bears on December 12.[8]

Cleveland Browns[edit]

On December 26, 2012, the Cleveland Browns announced they signed Johnson after injuries to Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy.[9]

Cincinnati Bengals[edit]

On March 21, 2013, Johnson signed with the Cincinnati Bengals.[10] and later released on May 12, 2014.

Second stint with 49ers[edit]

Johnson signed with the San Francisco 49ers in May 2014. He was released on September 20, 2014, re-signed on September 23, 2014, released again on October 10, 2014 and re-signed on October 14, 2014. Johnson has been repeatedly signed and released to give the 49ers a 54th roster spot.[11]

Second stint with Bengals[edit]

Johnson was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals on April 2, 2015.[12] He was released on August 25, 2015.[13]

New York Jets[edit]

Johnson signed with the New York Jets on August 27, 2015.[14] He was released by the Jets on September 5, 2015.[15]

Indianapolis Colts[edit]

On October 2, 2015, Johnson signed with the Indianapolis Colts due to an injury to starter Andrew Luck.[16] He was released on October 5,[17] but subsequently re-signed on October 7. He was released yet again on October 12.

Buffalo Bills[edit]

On October 13, 2015, Johnson signed with the Buffalo Bills.


  1. ^ Sweet: Foster wins Walter Payton Award Savannah Now, December 13, 2007
  2. ^ "Draft". 
  3. ^ "NFL Events: Combine Player Profiles - Josh Johnson". 
  4. ^ Taken from Ira Kaufman, Tampa Bay Online
  5. ^ "Watch Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Washington Redskins [10/04/2009] -". 
  6. ^ Branch, Eric (March 22, 2012). "49ers agree to terms with QB Josh Johnson on 2-year deal". SFChronicle-Niners Insider Blog. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 
  7. ^ "49ers cut quarterback Josh Johnson among 21 players cut as NFC West champions finalize roster". Associated Press. Washington Post. August 31, 2012. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Report: Bears try out two quarterbacks". Yahoo! Sports. 2012-12-12. Retrieved 2012-12-13. 
  9. ^ "Browns sign Johnson after Weeden injury=Browns". December 26, 2012. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Florio, Mike (October 14, 2014). "49ers playing 54-man roster trick with Josh Johnson". Retrieved October 14, 2014. 
  12. ^ Smith, Michael David (April 2, 2015). "Bengals bring back speedy quarterback Josh Johnson". Retrieved April 2, 2015. 
  13. ^ Hanzus, Dan. "Bengals clear way for McCarron, release Josh Johnson". Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  14. ^ Lange, Randy (August 27, 2015). "Jets Sign 7th-Year QB Josh Johnson". New York Jets. Archived from the original on August 30, 2015. Retrieved August 30, 2015. 
  15. ^ Cosentino, Dan (September 5, 2015). "Matt Flynn, Josh Johnson among Jets' 53-man roster cuts". Retrieved September 5, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Colts sign Josh Johnson with Andrew Luck in doubt". October 2, 2015. Retrieved October 2, 2015. 
  17. ^ Wilson, Josh. "Colts sign cornerback Shaun Prater, release quarterback Josh Johnson". Retrieved 6 October 2015. 

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