Former University of Tennessee star linebacker A.J. Johnson is getting a shot in

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panxing18
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Former University of Tennessee star linebacker A.J. Johnson is getting a shot in

Postby panxing18 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:45 pm

the NFL with the Denver Broncos less than a month after he was acquitted along with a college teammate of aggravated rape charges.After his first practice as a pro Monday Womens Margus Hunt Jersey , Johnson said, "It's a blessing to be a part of a team, I'm excited to get out here, start working out and start working my tail off."He said he never doubted he'd see this day ."No, never a time. I had faith. I trusted in God," he said. "I kept working and being determined and kept pushing. I knew it was going to come."Johnson said the Broncos reached out to him Saturday.Coach Vance Joseph said he wasn't sure what to expect from Johnson following such a long layoff from football."Well, we'll see. It's been three years since he's actually played football. At that time, three years ago, he was a serious prospect," Joseph said. "He's got great size, he can run, he's a very, very intelligent player. So, we'll see."Johnson and Michael Williams were acquitted of all counts July 27. They were indicted in February 2015 after a woman said both men raped her during a party at Johnson's apartment in the early morning hours of Nov. 16, 2014. Johnson and Williams were suspended from the team less than 48 hours after the party and never played for Tennessee again.While Williams was a part-time starter in the secondary, Johnson was a four-year starter and a pro prospect whose invitation to the 2015 NFL combine was rescinded after charges were filed."A.J. hasn't had the opportunity to play football for the last three years while resolving a serious legal matter Youth Joe Haeg Jersey ," general manager John Elway said in a statement Monday. "We've had several conversations with him since he's been cleared and have become very familiar with his background and character. Our organization is confident A.J. is ready to move forward and resume his playing career."Joseph said the Broncos did their due diligence before signing Johnson."We talked to all of his coaches. My cousin actually coached him at Tennessee. Zach (Azzanni, Denver's new wide receivers coach) had him at Tennessee. Everyone spoke highly about the guy, so we'll see. Again, he wants to play football, he's been training for two years to play football. He's been here for four hours, so we'll see how he fits in."To make room for Johnson, the Broncos released linebacker Stansly Maponga.They also signed safety Shamarko Thomas after losing safety Jamal Carter (torn hamstring) for the season Saturday night in their preseason opener. Joseph said Carter needs surgery and will go on IR.Thomas was released by the Colts on Saturday, less than 48 hours after he was ejected from a preseason game against Seattle for an illegal helmet hit.Thomas said Colts coach Frank Reich told him his release wasn't over that hit, however."It's all in God's plan. The ejection, I leaned with my helmet, that's what they say. I'm just happy to be here and be a Bronco," Thomas said.Now a 26-year-old rookie, Johnson was a three-time All-SEC selection at Tennessee from 2011-14. He was a four-year starter in Knoxville whose 425 tackles ran second among any Volunteer since the school started keeping track of the statistic in 1970.In 46 career games at Tennessee, he had 30陆 tackles for loss, three sacks, an interception Womens Jabaal Sheard Jersey , 11 pass breakups, three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. He posted double digits in tackles 23 times.Prosecutors painted Johnson and Williams as entitled athletes who weren't used to being told no. Defense attorneys argued that the woman had . with both men at the same time and then lied, claiming she had been raped.After a jury of seven women and five men found Johnson and Williams not guilty, Johnson said, "I just knew God was going to take care of it."The Broncos listed the 6-foot-2 Johnson at 243 pounds, but he said at his trial last month that he weighs 255 as he sought to revive his dream of playing in the NFL.Johnson said he wasn't bitter over his long-delayed debut."No, I'm not a bitter guy. I wake up happy every day. I'm blessed, I'm glad to be out here," he said. "I haven't had this many cameras in my face in a long time. But no, I have no bitterness about me."Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: ://arniestapleton Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders were flying high the last time they faced the Indianapolis Colts.Carr threw three touchdown passes to lead Oakland to its 12th win of the season on Christmas Eve in 2016, but got knocked out late in that game with a broken ankle. That has sent the Raiders into a downward spiral they still haven't escaped.The Raiders (1-5) are reeling as they head into Sunday's game against the Colts (2-5), having traded away No. 1 receiver Amari Cooper to Dallas earlier in the week after previously dealing away star pass rusher Khalil Mack before the season.The trio of Carr, Cooper and Mack were the foundation pieces in Oakland, but now only Carr remains and the team is once again rebuilding."For me, being in my fifth year, it's hard if I'm being honest Youth Anthony Walker Jersey ," Carr said. "Just going out there, I feel like we've had to do this a couple of times in my early five years. That part is hard. At the same time, it doesn't change my mindset."The Raiders have gone just 7-17 since that victory over the Colts and changed coaches, with Jon Gruden coming in this season to replace the fired Jack Del Rio.Carr's level of play has also dropped, with him throwing 29 touchdowns and 21 interceptions in his 21 games since then, compared to 38 TD passes and 13 interceptions in the previous 21 games."I definitely feel like a better player," Carr said. "I'm smarter. I know more. Talent-wise, I think after last year just recovering from injury, I'm back to my strength and my speed how I want it to be. Absolutely I believe that I have nothing but the best out in front of me. I really do believe that."Colts coach Frank Reich, who was an assistant in the AFC West with the Chargers for Carr's first two seasons in the NFL, had plenty of praise for Carr even if his production has dropped of late."He has really good arm talent," Reich said. "He sees the field really well. He can make all the throws. He can drive the ball all over the field. He can throw the touch pass. I just think he shows good instincts. I think he has good feel in the pocket. This is a guy who I think can put a lot of points on the board leading an offense."Here are some other things to watch for Sunday's game:LINING UPColts general manager Chris Ballard made the offensive line a focal point during the offseason. It shows. For the first time this season, the Colts used the same starting five in consecutive games and they delivered by paving the way for Marlon Mack to rush for a career high 126 yards. It's only the fifth 100-yard game during Andrew Luck's seven NFL seasons. Also, Luck has been sacked only once in his last 125 pass attempts after getting sacked 166 times in his first 77 career games."We must stay vigilant in all areas and we've got a great challenge against an aggressive Oakland defense, a defense that's tough to figure out," Luck said.WHERE'S THE BEAST?Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch went on injured reserve this week with a groin injury Womens Nate Hairston Jersey , leaving a big void in Oakland's offense. Lynch leads the Raiders with 372 yards rushing. Now the bulk of the load will go to Doug Martin, whose 3.0 yards per carry the past three seasons is the lowest in the NFL among players with at least 150 attempts. Third-down back Jalen Richard could also take on a bigger role as a runner, and DeAndre Washington figures to get his first action of the season after being hampered by a knee injury in training camp."You can't bring another Marshawn Lynch into the game, but we have a solid group of backs who can get the job done," Richard said.MITCHELL'S RETURNColts safety Mike Mitchell was out of the league until two weeks ago. Now, he's about to make his first trip back to the Black Hole since he left Oakland in 2012. And while Mitchell said he enjoyed the fans while he was there, the AFC's reigning defensive player of the week isn't sure what to expect. But the Raiders' second-round draft pick in 2009 is just glad to have found a home."I could be winning an award this week, they could be calling for my head next week," Mitchell said. "I just take everything with a grain of salt."JUST FOR KICKSThe final game of Gruden's first stint as Raiders coach ended with a kick by Adam Vinatieri. On a snowy night in New England on Jan. 19, 2002, Vinatieri kicked a 23-yard field goal in overtime to lead the Patriots to a 16-13 victory.The game was most notable for the "Tuck Rule," which turned a potential game-sealing strip sack in regulation for Oakland into an incomplete pass, setting the stage for Vinatieri to tie the game with an improbable 45-yard field goal in the snow. Vinatieri is still kicking and needs five points to break Morten Andersen's NFL career scoring record (2,544 points). But Vinatieri's status is in doubt this week because of an injured groin.AP Sports Writer Michael Marot contributed to this report

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