Johnson, Mike

Card: ProSet WLAF 1991
Acquired: In Person 1992, San Antonio Riders v Ohio Glory
Failure: TTM 1993, C/o BC Lions, TTM 2010, C/o The San Fransisco 49ers
See Also: Mike Johnson (2)

Mike Johnson was a quarterback of the Akron Zips during the late 80s amassing 1819 passing yards, 9 touchdowns and 429 yards rushing as a senior, helping the squad put together their first winning record.

Signed by the Phoenix Cardinals in 1990 as a free agent, Mike Johnson was cut coming out of camp that season. A second round choice in the WLAF positional draft by the Montreal Machine in 1991, Johnson found himself on the Team Dallas Taxi Squad at the start of the season, but with injuries and ineffectiveness plaguing the San Antonio Riders at quarterback, the Riders snapped him up during the second week. Mike started 6 games his rookie season, winning 4 of them. A dangerous scrambler (in the mold of Randall Cunningham) who was at his best outside the pocket, Johnson averaged 6.6 yards a carry while throwing for 1137 yards and 6 touchdowns for the team in 91.  He’d return in 1992 to the Riders and have an even better season, throwing for 1760 yards (5th in the league)  and 8 touchdowns leading the team to a 7-3 record.

A perfect fit for the Riders ball control offense, Mike never really got his due- always battling to keep his job competing with Jason Garrett in 1991, and Craig Cupp and Brad Goebel (in 1992).  Johnson in the end finished as the Riders career leading passer in nearly every category.

I got his autograph and took a photo or two with Mike during his playing days with the Riders back in 1992, but I had hoped to get his Ultimate and Wild Card eventually signed.  Mike signed with the British Columbia Lions of the CFL and played there in 1992 and 1993. I wrote him for his autograph there, but never got it. In 1994, Johnson signed with the Shreveport Pirates, throwing for 1259 yards and 4 touchdowns.  He’d play for the team through 1995 when the team was folded after the season.

Johnson began his coaching career in 1997 at Oregon State under his former head coach of the San Antonio Riders, Mike Riley.  He’d remain there through 1999 and then move to the Chargers with Riley.  Staying there through 2001, Mike has had stops at Atlanta, Baltimore, and San Fransisco in a variety of offensive capacities, before returning to the college level in 2011 where he was signed to be offensive coordinator of the UCLA Bruins.

G/Gs  18/16    Att  434   Comp 224   Yds  2897     Pct  51.6
Td  14    Int  16   Rat  68.3  |
Rush 58     Yds  343    Avg 5.9    Td   1