Join the Charger Girls for their annual calendar reveal party on Sept. 3, 2014.
The official San Diego Chargers pre-game show.
The official San Diego Chargers pre-game show.
A master craftsman, Jarret Johnson has provided the Chargers with the kind of leadership and stability that only a 12-year veteran can provide. He’s also one of the NFL’s most durable players, having played in 169 games over an 11-year career, an average of 15.4 games played per season. Only three times has Johnson not played an entire 16-game slate. And last year when a late-season hand injury kept him out of games, Johnson stayed sharp by working with the scout team, a virtual rarity among veterans whose season accrual totals reach double digits. Teammates recognized the passion and dedication that Johnson showed by selecting him as one of their most inspirational players at the end of the year.
As a strong-side ’backer, Johnson plays perhaps one of the most unsung positions in football. In a 3-4 defense like the Chargers run, it’s a position where you’re unlikely to load up the stat sheets with staggering numbers. But in the Bolts’ defensive scheme, Johnson plays one of the most important roles. He came to the Chargers in 2012 as one of the NFL’s top-rated free agents, listed at the time as the 14th-best available free agent by SportsIllustrated.com.
Johnson’s durability is one of the traits that made him so attractive to the Chargers. He came from Baltimore where he’d played in a team-record 129 straight regular-season games, including 80 consecutive starts. Nicknamed “J.J.” and “Double-J” by his former Ravens teammates, Johnson epitomized the term “blue-collar player” during his nine seasons in Baltimore.
Johnson, wife Anna, and daughter, Molly-Caroline, make their year-round home in Niceville, Fla., close to Eglin Air Force Base. Johnson has long been a supporter of our nation’s armed forces and with San Diego’s large population of Marines and Navy personnel, along with the team’s outreach to area installations, Johnson felt right at home.
Johnson is an avid outdoorsman who loves to boat, hunt and fish. He comes from a family with a long and trying legacy of men who made a living as commercial crabbers and fishermen. Beginning with his great-grandfather, all of the men in the Johnson family worked on the water, including his father, Ludwig, who was tragically lost at sea when Jarret was just two weeks shy of his eighth birthday. Johnson grew up fishing with his father and his death took a severe emotional toll. It also left his mother, Aida, alone to take care of Johnson and his sister, Mary Beth, with no job and no insurance. She returned to nursing school and made ends meet working a job as an emergency response technician. The only drawback was that the job required her to drive nearly 150 miles each day to and from work. To aid the family after Ludwig’s death, one of Jarret’s dad’s best friends, Harry Rogers, who had worked on oil rigs up in Alaska, relocated to Florida to help Aida and provide Johnson with a father figure. Several years later with life more stable, Aida moved the family to Chiefland, Fla., where Johnson launched his football career at Chiefland High School. It set Johnson on a path in which he would become the first male in the family to not work as a fisherman.
For a long time, Johnson resented the water, but several years ago while visiting Rogers in Florida as he was fighting a losing battle with cancer, Johnson stumbled upon an old book that contained some of his father’s old fishing logs. He discovered that his father not only fished for a living, but worked as a fishing guide, a fireman, and he even wrote a fishing report for the local newspaper. This discovery and all that the books contained helped provide Johnson with some closure and it rekindled an interest in fishing and being on the water.
Johnson again lives on the water in Niceville where he owns a 22-foot Pathfinder fishing boat and has aspirations of one day becoming a commercial fishing guide. He recently purchased a large boat and name it “Hot Spur,” in honor of his great grandfather, a Danish immigrant whose first fishing boat went by the same name.
And even though Johnson enjoys hunting and fishing, he has a Chocolate Labrador Retriever and has been a spokes-person for the Humane Society and several campaigns aimed at stopping animal abuse.
TRANSACTION HISTORY: Fourth-round pick (109) by Baltimore, April 27, 2003...signed with Ravens, July 26...re-signed with Ravens March 17, 2006, March 6, 2007 and Oct. 10, 2009...contract expired March 13, 2012...signed with Chargers, March 17.
2013: Chargers co-Most Inspirational Player...early season sacks against Houston (Sept. 9), Dallas (Sept. 29) and Oakland (Oct. 6)...inactive Oct. 14 vs. Indianapolis, Oct. 20 at Jacksonville and Nov. 10 vs. Denver (hamstring)... also inactive Nov. 24 at Kansas City and Dec. 1 vs. Cincinnati with hand injury...four-yard sack in third quarter of Jan. 5 wild card playoffs at Cincinnati... contributed to fumble two plays later as Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton tried to scramble for first down on 3rd-and-14 and lost ball.
2012: Made 100th-career start Oct. 7 vs. New Orleans... helped seal Nov. 1 win vs. Kansas City with fourth-quarter end zone sack and strip of Matt Cassel that was recovered by Shaun Phillips for touchdown and 24-6 lead...streak of 90-consecutive starts ended Nov. 18 in Denver when team opened game in nickel package...ended NFL’s second-longest streak of consecutive starts among active linebackers...inactive Dec. 2 vs. Cincinnati (back)...ended streak of 140 consecutive games played, which was fourth-longest among active linebackers...first missed game since rookie season (Dec. 21, 2003 at Cleveland), which was only other missed game during his career...returned to lineup week later and made key play during Dec. 9 win at Pittsburgh, Chargers’ first-ever victory in Steel City...in third quarter on first play after touchdown had given Bolts 20-3 lead, he drove Steelers tight end backwards into end zone and turned attempted pass into lateral fumble that Quentin Jammer dove on for touchdown and 27-3 lead.
2011: USA Today All-Joe...AFC Defensive Player of Week after fumble recovery and return 26 yards in 34-17 win over NY Jets Oct. 2...started franchise-record 74th-straight game Nov. 20 vs. Cincinnati.
2010: Played in 100th-consecutive game Sept. 26 vs. Cleveland...tied team lead with seven stops to go with sack and forced fumble in 30-24 win over New Orleans Dec. 19...helped hold Saints to 27 yards rushing, fifth-fewest allowed in franchise history... played in 112th-straight game to set new Ravens record Dec. 26 at Cleveland.
2009: Set career-highs with six sacks and two interceptions...career-best two sacks Sept. 13 vs. Kansas City...sack in 100th career game Oct. 11 vs. Cincinnati...interception and eight yard return Dec. 7 at Green Bay...pick and pass defensed in 31-7 win over Chicago Dec. 20 as defense held Jay Cutler to franchise-record-low 7.9 passer rating... first-career playoff sack in Divisional round Jan. 16 at Indianapolis.
2008: Forced fumble, fumble recovery and 1.5 sacks in 36-7 win over Philadelphia Nov. 23.
2007: Career-high 94 tackles in first year as full-time starter despite playing most of season with broken thumb...career-best 11 tackles and forced fumble in 20-13 win over NY Jets Sept. 16...season-high five quarterback hits and pass defensed in 22-3 win over St. Louis Oct. 14.
2006: Saw action at defensive end, outside linebacker and middle linebacker with half-sack during 27-0 win over Pittsburgh Nov. 26.
2005: 2005 Extra Effort Award from Ravens Roost No. 7 (Haggerstown, Md.) for Raven who worked hardest and provided extra-effort on field...first-career sack and forced fumble in 16-13 overtime win vs. Steelers Nov. 20.
2004: First-career interception and six-yard touchdown return in Jan. 2 season finale vs. Miami.
2003: Started first career game as left defensive end Nov. 30 vs. San Francisco and broke up pass which led to interception.
COLLEGE: Only two-time team captain in Crimson Tide history...first-team All-SEC as junior and senior, while gaining second-team honors as sophomore...finished career with 190 tackles, 23 sacks and 25 tackles for loss...left school ranked second in sacks and tied for second in tackles for loss...only Derrick Thomas (52) had more sacks...played at Alabama from 1999-2002...public relations major.
PERSONAL: Born in Homestead, Fla....second-team all-state defensive end and tackle as junior at Chiefland (Fla.) High after leading team to state title game.