Only two months after rupturing his Achilles tendon for the second time in three years, Chiefs inside linebacker Derrick Johnson was walking around radio row at the Super Bowl on Friday.
“I just got out of the boot yesterday,” Johnson said with a grin.
Johnson, who suffered the injury in early December and was wearing a lightweight walker on his left foot, said that when he’s on his feet for a while, the Achilles swells up. But that doesn’t worry him, as it turns out his rehab is going the exact same way it did two years ago, when he tore his other Achilles tendon and bounced back to post a terrific 2015 season.
Johnson knows he’s on the same track, by the way, because he found the old phone he used during his rehab, which had in it all his different rehab notes.
“I’m looking at the dates, and I’m like ‘Man, I’ll be doing this at three months, at four months,’” Johnson said. “So I’m already getting excited about where I’m going to be.”
Johnson is feeling so good he’s already challenged outside linebacker Frank Zombo — the king of the team’s half-field conditioning drill — for the summer.
“I texted him the other day,” Johnson said. “I said ‘Hey, I’m looking at my recovery at the end of May, and I’m gonna be with you doing the gassers.’”
That’s right. Johnson is planning on running by the middle of organized team activities, and he is optimistic he’ll be ready for the first day of training camp, which starts in late July.
“Yes, it takes six months (to recover) and I’ll be at 7 1/2 months at training camp,” Johnson said. “I’ll be very disappointed if I’m not out there on the first day. I’ll be disappointed.”
Johnson, who told The Star after the injury that he plans to play out the remaining two years on the three-year, $21 million extension he signed before last season, added Friday that he is determined to do so because he is adamant on winning a Super Bowl before he retires.
“I’m trying to win the Super Bowl, so my obligation is two more years and I want to do everything I can to make an impact to help Clark Hunt and the people that brought me here to win a Super Bowl,” Johnson said. “I’m not that guy trying to hold on. I really want to make an impact.
“If I see I’m hurting the team, that’s when I’ll have to think like ‘Okay, that’s it.’”
The Chiefs never make injured players available to speak due to club rules, but Johnson, 34, was at the Super Bowl to personally promote a performance-therapy company called TriggerPoint, which creates products that he uses regularly to stay loose and relieve the tightness that naturally comes after spending 12 years in the NFL.
“I really use it before practice, I use it before games,” Johnson said. “When I’m in the meeting room, I’ve got the Triggerpoint ball underneath my seat, rolling on my hamstrings. I put it on the ground, I roll on my feet, and it’s one of those things where the muscle works better when you get new blood in there.”