Al Johnson (guard)

Al Johnson
No. 62, 52, 50, 60
Position: Center / guard
Personal information
Date of birth: (1979-01-27) January 27, 1979
Place of birth: Brussels, Wisconsin
Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Weight: 305 lb (138 kg)
Career information
High school: Southern Door (WI)
College: Wisconsin
NFL Draft: 2003 / Round: 2 / Pick: 38
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2008
Games played: 66
Games started: 45
Fumble recoveries: 2
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Al Joseph Johnson (born January 27, 1979, in Brussels, Wisconsin) is a former American football center in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins. He played college football at the University of Wisconsin.

Early years

Johnson was two-way football player at Southern Door High School, earning second-team All-American and All-State honors. As a senior, he also won the state title in the shot put and was named conference player of the year in basketball.

He went on to play for the University of Wisconsin along with his cousin Ben Johnson. He was red-shirted and became a starter at center in the second game of his sophomore season, receiving honorable mention All-Big Ten honors two years in a row. As a senior he was named captain and received second team All-Big Ten and honorable-mention All-American honors.

Professional career

Dallas Cowboys

One of the focuses in Bill Parcells first season as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys was improving the center position play. To that end, he made Andre Gurode concentrate on playing guard and selected Johnson in the second round (38th overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft.[1]

From the beginning he was named the starter, but suffered a right knee injury in training camp that required microfracture surgery, which was thought to be career-threatening, because at the time not many players fully recovered from this medical procedure.[2]

After spending his rookie year on injured reserve, he played in every game and had 15 starts at center in his second season. In 2005, after facing competition in training camp, he went on to start all 16 games, but still split time with Gurode.

In 2006 he lost the starting center position to Gurode, who went on to become a Pro Bowler. At the end of the season, the Cowboys didn't re-sign him in free agency.

Arizona Cardinals

Although Johnson had lost his starting job, the Arizona Cardinals took a chance and signed him to a contract as a free agent on March 5, 2007.[3] He started 14 games at center (missing weeks 2 and 3 with a left knee injury), as part of an offensive line that allowed the team’s fewest sacks (24) in 20 years and that helped Edgerrin James rush for 1,222 yards.

In the 2008 off-season, he underwent two surgeries on his left knee and was placed on the injured reserve list. On October 21, he was released with an injury settlement, after the team couldn't reach an agreement to restructure his contract.[4]

Miami Dolphins

On November 29, 2008, he was signed by the Miami Dolphins, reuniting Bill Parcells who was the Executive Vice President of Football Operations. He played as a reserve center and guard in only four games, because he experienced recurring problems with his left knee.

New England Patriots

On March 16, 2009, he signed with the New England Patriots as an unrestricted free agent.[5] He was waived with an injury settlement on August 6, to make room for Derrick Burgess.[6]

Personal life

Johnson worked three years as an assistant football coach and offensive coordinator at division III St. Norbert College. He also was an assistant coach at Southern Door High School in Brussels and a morning show personality on WQDC, which he owned. In 2016, he joined the University of Wisconsin football coaching staff.[7]


  1. "Parcells Puts His Brand on the Cowboys' Draft". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  2. "Al Johnson offers hope on comeback for Cowboys' Anthony Spencer - NFL Nation - ESPN". Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  3. "OL Mitchell, TE Bienemann sign with Cardinals". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  4. "Cards center out for season". Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  5. "Pats announce five signings". Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  6. "Patriots trade for Derrick Burgess". Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  7. "Al Johnson returning to UW football program". Retrieved February 19, 2016.

External links

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