Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Sports

March 5, 2012

Bills re-sign Johnson

Controversial WR gets hefty contract extension.

BUFFALO — After the Buffalo Bills took a chance on Stevie Johnson, the flamboyant receiver decided to return the favor.

Johnson signed a five-year, $36.25 million contract extension on Monday with the Bills, a week before he was set to become an unrestricted free agent.

“I want to do all I can to make sure and let them know they didn’t make a mistake,” Johnson said. “I want to make sure they look good. This is where I started, and I wanted to remain loyal to them.”

Johnson, 25, was all smiles after he signed the deal that will keep him reunited with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. The two have developed a strong relationship, and are viewed as a key cog in the Bills’ youth movement.

“I’m fired up,” Fitzpatrick said in a conference call on Monday. “This shows a lot about Stevie, and this shows a lot about where the Bills are headed. Being our go-to guy in the receiving corps and being a huge playmaker for us, it was a must in terms of re-signing him.”

Bills general manager Buddy Nix was also happy to have signed his No. 1 receiver on the last day for teams to designate prospective free agents with the franchise tag. Applying the tag on Johnson would have cost the Bills about $9.4 million next season.

“It’s a good day for us,” he said. “Our football team got better. One of our philosophies coming in is that we wanted to keep our good players here. We were able to do that with Steve Johnson. It goes without saying what he’s done the past two years, and I think it’s just going to get better.”

After being selected in the seventh round of the 2008 draft, Johnson emerged in 2010 when he led the Bills with a career-high 82 catches for 1,073 yards and 10 touchdowns. He followed that up this past season with 76 receptions, and became the first player in team history to record consecutive 1,000-yard receiving campaigns.

He has 170 catches for 2,189 yards and 19 touchdowns in 48 games during his four-year career.

The Bills would have been dealt a big blow had they not re-signed Johnson. Perennially one of the worst offensive teams in the league, they began making strides last year in Fitzpatrick’s second year as the starting quarterback. Buffalo finished 14th in the NFL in yards gained, its best ranking since finishing 11th in 2002 under the direction of quarterback Drew Bledsoe.

Johnson has been a big part of that resurgence.

“We’ve developed a great relationship,” said Fitzpatrick, who signed a six-year, $59 million contract extension in October. “To be able to continue that and see that grow for the next few years is going to be great. Chan (Gailey) and Buddy have a plan in place and this shows that we’re on the right track. We’re going to keep the guys that perform, and continue upon what we’ve done.”

Johnson agrees that the Bills are on the right path despite losing eight of their final nine games to finish 6-10 in 2011, their 12th straight season without a postseason berth.

“This group is the only group I’ve known, so why leave now when you got guys turning that corner,” he said. “There’s a lot of promise here. We have a talented group, and I think we’ll be a team that people have to take notice with these coming years.”

This past season was a turbulent and controversial one for Johnson. He fought through injuries to his shoulder, groin, and hand, and also landed in hot water for his over-the-top celebrations. He was benched for the final three quarters of the Bills’ finale at New England after being flagged a second time in six games — and third time in two years — for an excessive touchdown celebration.

But Fitzpatrick believes Johnson will leave the past behind as the two focus on taking their team to the next level.

“All the stuff with the celebrations and the penalties that happened last year — that stuff’s all done with,” Fitzpatrick said. “He’s a leader on this team, and he’s a guy that is concerned with the team and winning, and I think he’ll show that.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • 140423 HS Baseball MAIN ART.jpg Sobieraski hurls Lions past Jacks

    Winning pitcher Charlie Sobieraski did everything but babysit the kids on Monday, tossing five innings of no-hit ball and fanning 11, sparking the Lockport baseball Lions past visiting North Tonawanda, 10-2, topping Niagara Frontier League baseball action.

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • 140423 R-H Preview ART.jpg Xapsos, Rams out-duel Newfane ace at Gasport Elementary

    A diving catch by Rams senior second baseman John O'Brien spoiled a bases-loaded, two-out threat by Newfane in the top of the seventh inning.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pujols, Albert 2014.jpg Pujols cracks 500th

    Albert Pujols reached 500 homers in a hurry.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140423 HS Roundup 1B ART.jpg Three's a charm for Patterson, Goodman

    Led by triple individual winners Mike Patterson and Angela Goodman, Wilson swept visiting Royalton-Hartland on Tuesday in a Niagara-Orleans League track and field contest, winning the boys' meet, 77-59; and the girls' meet, 73-63.

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • 140418 Starpoint CP O'Donnell ART.jpg Grand Finale for Starpoint's O'Donnell

    The Spartans should be in position to make noise in what might be Western New York's toughest division.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140416 LHS Softball ART.JPG Big week ahead for Lady Lions

    The Lockport Lady Lions softball team has plenty to look forward to next week when it resumes its 2014 Niagara Frontier League schedule in a big way, with five games on tap.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140417 Sabres ART.jpg Ted Nolan fires most of his assistants

    The overhaul is continuing in Buffalo after Sabres coach Ted Nolan purged most of his staff of assistants on Wednesday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140416 Abdallah MAIN art.jpg Abdallah ranked No. 5 in the world

    Lockport's Amer Abdallah has been ranked No. 5 in the world in the Cruiserweight Division by the World Kickboxing Association.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140416 LBA art.png Voss is still boss at City Tournament

    Lockport bowling legend Don Voss rolled a Lockport City Bowling Tournament-record 862 three-game series to earn the handicap doubles title with his daughter, Angel Ritz.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140416 Sabres' wrap.jpg Sabres officially bottomed out with season over

    Things can't get much worse in Buffalo following a season during which the team set numerous dubious lows.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
Sabres
Bills
AP Video
Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: World Cup Trophy Begins Tour in Brazil David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement Raw: UConn Celebrates for Second Straight Night UConn Women Win NCAA Basketball Championship Raw: Workers at Brazil Olympic Park on Strike Some Arrests As Fans Celebrate UConn Win UConn Wins NCAA Men's Basketball Championship UConn Wins NCAA Men's Basketball Champsionship Connecticut, Kentucky Fans React to NCAA Win Connecticut, Kentucky Meet for the Title AP Player of Year: Creighton's Doug McDermott Fearsome Final Foursome Head to North Texas College Athletes Take Labor Cause to Washington Northwestern Practices After Union Ruling Woods Has Back Surgery, Will Miss the Masters Raw: Obama, 'Big Papi' of Red Sox Take Selfie Raw: LA Angels Don Baylor Suffers Leg Injury
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide