When last season ended, Steven Johnson didn’t make it a secret. He wanted to return to the Steelers in 2017.
Johnson, who was slated to become an unrestricted free agent on March 9, loved his first year in Pittsburgh, even if it was injury-marred, and wanted to be back.
“I am excited to be with this organization,” said Johnson at the end of the season. “I don’t want to go anywhere. I am looking forward to next year because this team has a great opportunity to win a championship and I want to be a part of it. I am praying I get an opportunity next year.”
Johnson got what he wished for when he was re-signed to a one-year contract on Wednesday.
Johnson, who signed with the Steelers as a free agent from Tennessee last year, played in only six games in 2016, finishing with six special teams tackles. His season ended early when he suffered an ankle injury against Dallas in Week 10, and he was placed on the reserve/injured list.
And while there was disappointment not being able to finish out the season, his overall experience being with the Steelers is what ignited his desire to remain in black and gold.
“I came here with high expectations for myself,” said Johnson. “Then I got hurt. It’s just a part of the game. I was happy that I was able to still be around the team in a tough situation. Coach (Mike) Tomlin is a great coach. He reminds me of my dad. That is why I am so drawn to this organization.
“I am very grateful for (last) year. It built my zeal for the game. It grew this year. Being here, there aren’t many places like it. A lot of guys won’t understand it because they haven’t been anywhere else. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. I have been on that other side. It’s a good organization here. Good players, teammates, coaches, good owners, good atmosphere. Good locker room. Everything here is good. They are going to put you in the best position to win championships. Being a part of the Steelers Nation, it’s one of a kind.”
Johnson, who will be entering his sixth season, has played in 63 games with seven starts in the regular season. He has played in five postseason games, starting one.