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
  • 140721 Canal Derby MAIN ART.JPG Medina man snags top prize

    A Medina man was the grand prize winner of a new fishing boat, motor and trailer at the 2014 Erie Barge Canal Fishing Derby Awards Banquet on Sunday at the Gasport Fire Hall.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • 140719 Bills Camp MAIN ART.jpg LHS grid Lions set to open at the Ralph

    The Lockport football Lions won't need to qualify for the sectional playoffs this fall in order to play a game at coveted Ralph Wilson Stadium — home of the National Football League's Buffalo Bills.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140719 Bills Camp SEC ART.jpg Bills will open camp Sunday

    Home-run hitters generally strike out a lot

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140718 Ennis MAIN ART.jpg Ennis earns five-year deal

    The Sabres re-signed center Tyler Ennis on Thursday to a five-year contract worth about $23 million.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140716 Area Sports ART.jpg Taylor made victory in Florida

    Lockport heavyweight Joe Taylor improved to 6-0 as a professional by winning an IKF tournament last week in Florida.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140717 Together Again MAIN art.jpg Reed & Kelly: Together again

    Andre Reed will have his old signal-caller right there with him to celebrate in Canton.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140714 World Cup MAIN.jpg Goetzekrieg

    With two quick touches, Mario Goetze ended Germany's 24-year wait for another World Cup title.

    July 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • 140712 Bills Stadium ART.jpg Bills stadium report delayed

    A state-commissioned report that had been anticipated Friday identifying potential sites for a new Buffalo Bills stadium is now expected at the end of the month.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140709 Fish Derby MAIN ART.jpg Derby homestretch

    Leaders can't get complacent in the 2014 Erie Barge Canal Fishing Derby — especially when the North Carolinians roll in.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140709 World Cup ART.jpg Germany routs Brazil in historic WC semifinal

    Nobody ever expected this.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
Sabres
Bills
AP Video
LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's 49ers Open Posh, High-tech Stadium in California Jeter, Trout Lead AL to All-Star Game Win Kluwe: I Hope Vikings Make Investigation Public College Football Championship Trophy Unveiled Cleveland Expects Economic Boom From Lebron Argentina Fans Sad but Proud in Loss Germany Wins the World Cup 1-0 Raw: German Players Head to World Cup Final LeBron: Move Back to Cleveland 'Exciting' Netherlands Beats Host Brazil 3-0 to Finish 3rd Raw: Stunning Timelapse of WC Final Host City Joy Fills Streets of Cleveland As LeBron Returns FIFA Rejects Suarez Appeal Against Biting Ban World Cup Final Pits Argentina Against Germany Argentina to Face Germany in World Cup Final Raw: Fans Gather for Argentina-Netherlands Match Froome Crashes Out on Bumpy 5th Tour Stage Sterling Testifies in Los Angeles Clippers Trial
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

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