ALLENDALE, Mich. (June 20, 2014) — He spent just two seasons as a Laker, but Charles Johnson left his mark at Grand Valley State.
His 2,229 career receiving yards are fifth all-time in school history – and his skills at a Division II school still got him drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2013.
That’s when something unusual happened for the former GLIAC Offensive Player of the Year.
“When I got to the NFL, I was suddenly plagued with injuries,” Johnson said while attending a GVSU youth football camp in Allendale on Friday. “I had a hamstring when I first got to Green Bay that kinda limited me, so that was a struggle. Then I come back to camp and hurt my knee in Green Bay, so that set me down again.”
But Johnson was able to bounce back from those injuries — and the Packers kept him on their practice squad for the 2013 season, hoping to mold him into a future star.
But practice squad players are up for grabs for other NFL teams to sign to their active rosters. That’s exactly what the Cleveland Browns did with Johnson in October.
Before he could even set foot on the field for the Browns, Charles got some shocking news.
“I had my physical, I remember the doctor was feeling my knee and he wanted to check it again. I didn’t really understand,” he says. “The next day came and I was lacing up my cleats at my locker, ready to go run routes with the coaches so I could learn the playbook and everything. The trainer came over to me and said, ‘We need to talk to you.’ And I could tell by his voice that it was something that I wasn’t gonna wanna hear.”
Johnson had been playing on a torn ACL – misdiagnosed by the Packers – and the Browns shut him down for the year. He’s been spending this offeseason rehabbing, looking for a chance to show Cleveland what he can do.
“I’m gonna go out there like I’m the number one guy and I’m gonna go out there and give it all I can each and every day,” Johnson says.