UPDATE: The Alouettes officially announced the signing of Johnson to a two year contract.
“Chad Johnson did an outstanding job the last three days. As we added him into the mix, it was to see how he communicated with the players, how he held himself, the way he physically held up, his true interest in coming to the CFL. It was a total evaluation so that it’s a good fit. He was very happy and very excited to be on the field again and we are happy to welcome him to the Alouettes,” said Alouettes GM Jim Popp.
The article below is now a little dated, but is left unchanged.
Most eyes at Montreal Alouettes mini-camp in Vero Beach, Florida are focused on former NFL receiver Chad Johnson.
Johnson is one of the biggest names in football but there are valid concerns about whether or not he can contribute to an Alouettes team that is already pretty deep at the wide reciever position. However, even with Jamel Richardson, Duron Carter and S.J. Green, there is a spot for Johnson.
However, he is 36 years old and had to sit out of mini camp this morning due to a sore groin. He also took all of last season off of playing. The CFL isn’t a league where NFL players can just come in and dominate. Look at Ricky Williams (among others) who was younger and healthier prior to joining the Toronto Argonauts.
Johnson would have to understand his role in the offence, which would – ironically – be to replace Arland Bruce III who is another older, loud receiver.
Johnson would often be no better than the third option on most routes and if his character can understand that, he would be a nice low-risk, potentially high-reward addition to the Alouettes lineup. Not to mention the extra attention – rightly or not – it would bring the league.
Jim Popp has often reached high with his NFL imports. A lot of them haven’t worked out. Like Jesse Palmer, Quincy Carter and Ahman Green. Some have, like Lawrence Phillips and Autry Denson. It will be interesting to see if Johnson can get a contract – he’s still on a try-out basis – and provide the Alouettes with a nice boost.
The fact that he was willing to try out without a contract shows that he is serious about this. Whether or not the coaches see enough to offer him a contract – and whether Johnson takes it – is another issue.
However, there is enough to believe that Johnson – even at his age – can provide a nice little spark to the Alouettes offence. If Jim Popp feels good enough to offer him a contract, I’ll be interested to see what he can do in the pre-season.