Cards: Score 1990, Fleer Ultra 1991, Action Packed 1990, ProSet 1990, Score 1991
Acquired: TTM 2018, C/o Home
Sent: 10/20 Received: 11/9 (20 days)
Despite playing alongside future defensive hall of famer Bruce Smith at Virginia Tech, linebacker Mike Johnson ended up in the upstart USFL playing for the Philadelphia Stars (1984) and the Baltimore Stars (1985). NFL teams took notice, and after finishing a stellar career in the USFL, Mike was selected in the USFL player dispersal draft with the 19th pick. Mike joined a host of other USFL castaways (Mack, Minnefield, and McNeil) on the Browns, helping solidify the nucleus of a powerful playoff opponent.
Johnson was a rare talent. A versatile, durable inside linebacker, who could cover runningbacks and tight ends in the flat in Cleveland’s defensive alignment. Mike earned two Pro Bowl appearances in 1989 and 1990 both as a middle linebacker. During the 1990 season he’d record a 64 yard interception return against the Chargers (Billy Joe Tolliver). In 7 of his 10 years in the NFL, Mike recorded over 100 tackles, and 6 of those, he’d manage over 130. Johnson’s best season came in 1993 when he pulled down 181 ball carriers.
In 1994 Mike was allowed to depart for Detroit where he finished his career in 1995. Rejuvenated, he’d start 32 of 32 games and have 250 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, and 3 interceptions for 71 yards and a TD.
Mike Johnson is the Browns 1980s TTM version of Ernest Givins!
A sure friend to the TTM community, Mike’s responses are of legend. He takes the time to respond to letters that ask questions, signs everything and includes extras. I only dropped 4 cards in, but he included an extra two for my trouble, giving me an extra signed ProSet 1990 and including the Fleer Ultra 1991 card.
I was surprised that I couldn’t find Mike’s Pro Bowl 1990 card, but whatever- I was still happy to get this bevvy of cards signed. Both his Score cards and his ProSet base cards are very nice action images. His Fleer Ultra 1991 leaves a lot to be desired. I really hated this set from a design standpoint. It was just lazy, and his silhouette is partially obscured by a Bills player’s butt. Action Packed took what they could get sometimes, even if the action shot was from behind (as is the case with Johnny Holland and Mark Carrier’s (S) cards- respectively). I wasn’t really a fan of it, but since I had gotten this card in every other pack of Action Packed that I first bought for a while there, it made sense to send one up to see if I could get it autographed.