Per Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk.com (with a tip of the hat to Kurupt), the Buffalo Bills on Monday worked out six defensive linemen, including former Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Ed Johnson.
Normally, routine Monday player workouts don't interest me. Johnson is an interesting case, however. Buffalo currently has the NFL's worst run defense, and even though the predominant opinion is that the Bills' run-stopping woes have much more to do with linebacker play than line play, Johnson is something of a proven commodity as an NFL run-stuffer. Add in the shoulder injury that could sideline Kyle Williams and the fact that 2006 first-round pick John McCargo has yet to make a significant impact, and Johnson's intrigue increases.
An undrafted free agent out of Penn State in 2007, Johnson started all 16 games for the then-defending champion Colts in place of the injured Anthony McFarland. Johnson racked up 41 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble for an Indianapolis defense that finished the 2007 season ranked third in the league (though they were fifteenth against the run).
Set to become a household name in 2008, Johnson was cut by the Colts on September 11, 2008 after police found marijuana in his possession during a routine speeding stop. Without him, Indy's defense dropped to No. 11 in the league, and a lowly No. 24 against the run. Johnson filed a grievance upon his release, and as Florio notes, even after the Colts gave him a second chance by re-signing him on May 5 of this year, Johnson refused to drop the grievance.
After just five games this season, Johnson was released again by the Colts. Jim Caldwell, Indy's head coach, cited a lack of performance as the reason behind the release. (Stampede Blue interpreted this as Johnson being cut because "he stinks.") However, Colts GM Bill Polian added, roughly a week later, that the release was "directly related to his weight" (Johnson is listed at 296 pounds, but is currently much closer to 320). Florio points out that, though the Colts clearly would never say this publicly, the lingering grievance might have played a role as well.
Johnson clearly has talent, but there are concerns about his attitude. According to Florio, Buffalo also worked out the following defensive linemen on Monday: Marlon Favorite, Antwan Lake, Joshua Leonard, Langston Moore and Rodrique Wright. Would you give Johnson (or any of the lesser-known names) a chance in Buffalo?