Once again the Jay Cutler madness threw me off-course. I am back, however with a look at the Broncos 2nd Round pick, #31 overall, WR Vance Johnson.
One of the original '3 Amigos', a receiving tandem for the Broncos that included Ricky Nattiel and Mark Jackson, Johnson spent 11 years in the NFL, all as a Bronco. His 415 receptions rank 5th all-time on the Broncos list, which include his best season - 1989 - when the former U. of Arizona star grabbed 76 passes for 1,095 yards and 7 touchdowns.
He played in 3 Super Bowls with the Broncos, including an impressive performance in Super Bowl XXI when Johnson made 5 catches for 121 yards and a score.
Things got tougher for Johnson after leaving football, especially after the sudden death of his oldest son in late 2007. Vaughn Edward was killed in September 2007 after his motorcycle collided with a SUV. He was 19.
Johnson has had several issues, specifically financial since his playing days ended.
With one year left on his contract in 1993, he was scheduled to make $750,000. But then he was traded to the Minnesota Vikings, got cut by that team and then signed again with the Broncos — for $275,000.
Johnson was also on the hook for paying more than $100,000 a year in alimony and child support.
He later signed a $2.4 million contract with the San Diego Chargers — complete with a $850,000 signing bonus — in 1994. But then he was cut by the team.
He also was scheduled to release a book that year. In the book, he wrote about how he beat his first wife unconscious, rammed his car into his second wife's vehicle and went to jail and fathered seven children by various women.
During the release of the book, he offered several tearful apologies for his past behavior and donated $3,000 to The Gathering Place, a group that helps battered women.
In 1995, he was working for a trucking company in Fort Collins and told the Rocky he was pulling in less than $3,000 a month — though at the time he had gotten counseling and acknowledged his abusive and reckless nature. That was also the same year he signed with the Broncos for the last time, making $275,000 a year and getting a $25,000 signing bonus.
For me, all his personal troubles aside, I will always remember Johnson streaking down the sidelines in a 1992 playoff game against the Houston Oilers, The Drive Part 2. One of my Top-3 Broncos plays ever.
Johnson owns a restaurant in Parachute, CO.