In 11 NFL seasons, the Carolina Panthers were all Charles Johnson ever got to know.
And with the announcement of Johnson’s official retirement from professional football on Wednesday, that will remain the case. Johnson, a third-round pick from Georgia in 2007, will be honored during a Thursday news conference at Bank of America Stadium.
Johnson, a 6-foot-2, 270-pound defensive end, arrived at Carolina in the same draft class as center Ryan Kalil, who will join Johnson in retirement after this season. Johnson played sparingly his first season in Charlotte before becoming a rotational player in 2008 and 2009.
But by his fourth season, Johnson truly came into his own. He started all 16 games for the first time in his career, notching 11.5 sacks and a career-high 51 tackles along the way.
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Johnson’s steady play continued for the Panthers until 2015, when a severe hamstring strain cost him seven games of the year on injured reserve. That season, Johnson recorded only one sack.
Then, prior to the 2017 season, Johnson was suspended for four games for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy while recovering from a back injury. He finished last year without a sack, the first season that had happened since his rookie year.
Johnson totaled 67.5 sacks in his career, the second-most in team history behind Julius Peppers (who has 154.5 sacks and counting). Johnson’s 20 career forced fumbles are also second-most behind Peppers’ 32.