Tag Archives: DJ Johnson

Johnson, Derrick ‘DJ’ (3)

Cards: Score 2013, Score 2010, Topps 2011, Score 2014, Panini UT 2015 (2), Upper Deck 2009
Acquired: 2019, IP Heisman House Tour
See Also: Derrick Johnson, DJ Johnson (2)

The past few years Nissan has done a promotion for the Heisman where they set up a tent and bring down a college legend to sign and take photos with fans. Calling it the ‘Heisman House’, previous years have netted me guys like Vince Young, Ricky Williams, and even LenDale White. It seemed like a shoe in that I’d be able to nail down 2nd half guest Derrick Johnson on a few more cards but as luck seemed to have it- the organizers changed the rules and almost incurred the wrath of fans waiting in line.

You see their Facebook posts indicated that players were signing for fans or taking selfies. For the vast majority of fans who were there, we just wanted the autograph. So after the DJ tried to tell us that we could only get a selfie, a group of us got frustrated and voiced our displeasure. It took a few minutes but the situation was resolved in time for us to get both Ricky and DJ’s autograph with no issue.

One of the highlights of the event is that you could ask Derrick any question you wanted, so naturally there was one thing on my mind.

I want to apologize to you on behalf of the entire Houston Texans organization for trading down and not selecting you during the draft.

DJ let our a hearty chuckle and then told me that nobody had apologized for that, and that while he did appreciate it, it was unnecessary. He then recounted how he was selected 15th in the 2005 draft and that the Texans passed him over and traded down- had the chance to select him, but instead took Travis Johnson. DJ’s memory was sharp. He then talked about the LB talent in the draft that went before him, and the rest of the players selected before him- but no he didn’t hold a grudge- <insert wide smile>. He did however enjoy himself to some degree every year when the Chiefs hammered the Texans.

DJ has signed previously for me, so I was beginning to run out of cards of his. I had been angling since 2015 to get these Panini UT cards signed. A bit over produced, but I do like them, and the ink looks good on these canvases. I just don’t really understand why they did 2 cards of every player and then variations on top of that. The set (other flaws notwithstanding) is confusing enough as it is.

I absolutely hate this Upper Deck card. Don’t like the design and I never have liked camp photos where players are not in pads. It was sort of the bottom of the barrel to me. I’ve earmarked it for my friend Mark to have.

I liked the Score 2010 set. I like the deconstructive elements of the set, but not so much the 2013 Score card. It’s a boring design and it almost requires the photo to be a portrait, so this landscape just seems a bit off. I thought the Topps card was alright. It was a soft evolution of the card design. The only problem I had with it is that it looked a bit too much like a grill or that it was lifted off of a Fox Sports presentation from that era.

In 2018 Derrick was inducted into the Kansas City Chiefs Ring of Honor.

Johnson, DJ

tntafl14 djjohnsonCard: TNT AFL Talons 2014
Acquired: IP 5/17/14, San Antonio Talons vs. New Orleans Voodoo

DJ was a local product from Austin I met at the Talons ticket party in the back of the Lion & The Rose in San Antonio. At the time I sat down and talked to him I did not have a card for him, but we shared our experiences from Austin, how its grown at an astronomical rate, and the increasing commute times. Like many of the other players there at the event, he did not let on that he wanted a card made of him. At the start of the season, DJ was not suiting up, but as injuries mounted, the team leaned on him to play more and more.

I caught DJ after the Voodoo game. He was sitting in a row for the autograph session with Doug Pierce and a couple of other guys. I shoved my way up and said, “Austin guy right? Hey I got these cards I made of you.” His eyes got really big and Doug reached over and started asking why I didn’t have one of him too, so I slapped his on the table too. The players were really excited and created quite a stir.

An AFL rookie in 2014, DJ played for the Texas Tech Red Raiders, and was named All-Big 12 Honorable Mention in 2010 as he tallied 3 interceptions, 43 tackles, 2 TFL and 4 PBU. In 2011, he earned 83 tackles, 3 FF, 2 picks, 5 TFL, and 3 PBU, following it up with a stellar Senior campaign in which he had 90 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack, 2 interceptions, and 5 PBU. DJ’s had 14 tackles in his final game at the Mineke Car Care Bowl.


Johnson, Derrick (2) ‘DJ’

udi08 der johnsonCards: Upper Deck Icons 2008, Score 2009, Score 2012, Donruss Rookies & Stars 2012
Acquired: IP 12/6/2014, Total Athlete ATX Grand Opening
See Also: Derrick Johnson

Got a tip from a fellow collector (Nathanlg) about Derrick tweeting about a grand opening he was appearing at in Austin. Nathan and I go way, way back, however we hadn’t spoken in some 20 years, but we had been kicking the can for sometime about covering an autograph event together, since we are both avid collectors. We hit the Total Athlete grand opening a few minutes after it started. I was really surprised that the location was the former maintenance hangar of the Pflugerville Municipal Airport.  For many, many years, I’d drive by the airport on Howard Lane when I was younger. I don’t think it’d ever strike me that I’d ever go there one day for an autograph signing. Makes me think again about how small the world is physically, spatially, and socially.

Derrick was not only in attendance, – the whole building wasdors12 der johnson decked out inside with amazing full size banners of him. The facility itself specialized in resistance training. It had a few weights, but the majority of it was built towards strength and conditioning, with half of the surface covered in synthetic turf. There were a few local vendors there, and a few former UT personalities showed up including Lee Jackson, Brian Orapko, and Tim Crowder.   I even ran into a former San Antonio Talon who is a trainer there. Again- small world.

It took me a while to get around to Derrick with Nathan. I think we both didn’t want to just walk in and crash his grand opening for autographs right off the bat. While Nathan had this really nice custom replica UT helmet he made signed, I was able to slip in afterwards for a few signatures on these cards. I brought up the 2005 draft with him and how he was almost a member of the Houston Texans, not once, but twice. He almost sounded like he had a chip on his shoulder about it, and recited to me with a chuckle, how the Texans took Travis Johnson instead. I lamented to him about what could’ve been the combination of Derrick Johnson and De’Meco Ryans the Texans might have had. He grabbed all 4sco09 der johnson cards out of my hand and signed each one without blinking an eye. It was very nice of him.

Score 2009 is one of my favorite sets of the past ten years or so. I really like the distinctive design and splatter art effect. It’s just very stylish. I do go out of my way to get cards autographed from this set when the opportunity presents itself, so I was really pleased to get this one. The rest are a mishmosh of different cards from different sets that I had acquired or wanted to study. I do like this Upper Deck Icons card. Again, a really well thought out design. I like how the figure breaks the plane of the design, and the red streaks slice up the metallic border.

On the other hand, the 2012 sets are a really bad let down. I thought that the Donruss Rookies & Stars 2012 set would be as good as their 2011 and 2010 offerings but sadly it evolved into this flat and boring design. I should’ve just trusted my instincts since there was no preview of the card on the outside of the box. Likewise, Score went the same direction with their 2012 offering which I yawned at.
sco12 der johnsonIt’s just so- boxy. Very trite.

After the 2013 season, Johnson engineered another ProBowl appearance. He earned Defensive Player of the Game Honors for Team Rice notching 9 tackles and a pass block. Derrick afterwards was off to a fast start during Week 1 in 2014, if not for a torn Achilles he suffered against the Tennessee Titans, eraisng his entire campaign. In 10 seasons playing inside at linebacker with the Chiefs, Johnson’s 981 tackles rank third in team history.