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Ken Johnson (defensive end, born 1947)

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Place of birth:  Anderson, Indiana
College:  Indiana
Height  1.98 m
High school:  Anderson (IN)
Undrafted:  1971
Weight  120 kg
Position:  Defensive end / Defensive tackle
Date of birth:  (1947-02-12) February 12, 1947 (age 70)
Education  Indiana University Bloomington

Ralph Kenneth Johnson (born February 12, 1947) is a former professional American football defensive lineman in the National Football League for the Cincinnati Bengals. He played college basketball at Indiana University.


Early years

Johnson had to repeat the fifth grade because of low grades and was cut from both his junior high school football and basketball teams. He would eventually develop into a top athlete at Anderson High School, where he received All-State and All-American honors in both sports as a senior.

He accepted a basketball scholarship from Indiana University, becoming a starter at center as a junior and being voted team MVP. He would repeat as the team MVP the following year and also received All-Big Ten honors. As a senior, he began to experiment with alcohol and drugs, which in turn affected his play on the court.

Dallas Cowboys

Johnson was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 10th round of 1970 NBA draft, after dropping because of character concerns. Indiana University’s coach, Bob Knight, recommended the 6-foot-6 former basketball player to Vice President of player personnel Gil Brandt, who once said: "Our mistake with Johnson was that we tried to make him into an offensive tackle," Brandt recalled. "The Bengals [who claimed Johnson on waivers from the Cowboys] tried him on the defensive line. That was where he belonged".

In 1971, although he never played a down of college football, after a successful tryout he signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent, following on the foot steps of Cornell Green, Peter Gent and Percy Howard, as basketball players that were converted by the Cowboys to play professional football. He was eventually waived during the preseason.

Cincinnati Bengals

Johnson was claimed off waivers by the Cincinnati Bengals and was converted into a defensive tackle in 1971. The next season he was moved to defensive end, so he could get more playing time.

In 1974 he was named the starter at left defensive end. In 1976, the Bengals traded for Coy Bacon who played at a Pro Bowl level and relegated Johnson to a reserve role.

In 1977, he was lost for the season after injuring his knee in the 10th game against the Miami Dolphins. He was released on August 29, 1978.

Personal life

Johnson became an assistant pastor at the Greater Atlanta Healing Temple. He is also a motivational speaker for the Sports World Ministries. In 1977, he nearly died when his vehicle was hit and dragged by a train for more than 100 yards.


Ken Johnson (defensive end, born 1947) Wikipedia

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