Chiefs

Chiefs' Andy Reid sees coaching in Derrick Johnson's future if he ends playing career

Linebacker Derrick Johnson was released a week ago after 13 seasons with the Chiefs, but Andy Reid would like Johnson to return as a coach if he can't hook up with another team.
Linebacker Derrick Johnson was released a week ago after 13 seasons with the Chiefs, but Andy Reid would like Johnson to return as a coach if he can't hook up with another team. deulitt@kcstar.com

The Chiefs released inside linebacker Derrick Johnson a week ago, but that doesn't mean they don't want him to re-join the organization.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid — who was speaking on Wednesday at the NFL scouting combine for the first time since the Senior Bowl — said that if Johnson doesn't land another job this season, he wants him to come back as a coach.

"This is one of my favorite guys I've ever coached," Reid said of Johnson, who finished his 13-year stint as the Chiefs' career leader in tackles. "I'm pulling for him that maybe (another playing gig) happens for him in the future, but I told him if it doesn't, just come back and he can start his coaching career. He's a top-notch kid."

Johnson, 35, fast-tracked his recovery from a torn Achilles to return to the field for the start of camp last summer. Johnson finished the season with 71 tackles as he began to split time with younger linebackers such as Reggie Ragland and Kevin Pierre-Louis.

  • Reid said he was not surprised by Brad Childress' decision to come out of retirement and join Matt Nagy's staff in Chicago. Childress, who was a member of Reid's staff in Kansas City during 2013-17, most recently served as the Chiefs' assistant head coach before retiring in January. The break only lasted a matter of days, however, as he quickly joined Nagy — the Chiefs' offensive coordinator a year ago before he was hired to be the Bears' head coach — as an offensive consultant.
  • Reid said the return of running back Spencer Ware, who missed last season because of a knee injury, will help the Chiefs diversify star running back Kareem Hunt's workload, though they were happy with his 325-touch season. "We probably need to expand on his role in the pass game," Reid said. "A healthy Ware would be a nice problem to have there. They're best friends, and that would be a nice problem to have."
  • Reid said the Chiefs will continue to use 2017 second-round pick Tanoh Kpassagnon as an outside linebacker going forward, though he could see him one day dropping into a three-point stance in the nickel and dime subpackages.

  • Reid was happy to see Philadelphia win the Super Bowl this year under his former offensive coordinator Doug Pederson. “I had a lot of years with that organization, first of all, in that city,” said Reid, who was 130-93 as the Eagles' head coach from 1999 to 2012. “I know how passionate (those fans) are. It’s no different than where we’re at here in Kansas City. I know how passionate their owner is and the resources he’s put in to try to make it the best over the years, even before I got there. So for them to win it, it’s a great deal.” Reid said he was especially thrilled for Pederson, whose hiring two years ago drew initial criticism from many across the NFL. “Doug was an underdog coming in, and look at what he did,” Reid said.
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