Pine Bluff High and Arkansas State alumnus David Johnson practiced with the Pittsburgh Steelers in training camp for the first time in a year Wednesday, multiple sources reported.
According to the reports, Johnson was activated from the physically unable-to-perform list. The tight end and fullback has not played a snap in the NFL since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the first game of the 2012 preseason.
Johnson’s return adds to depth at the tight end position for the Steelers, who have been missing Heath Miller due to major knee injury and Matt Spaeth due to a foot injury. David Paulson started the first two games but, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he is known more for his pass-catching abilities than his ability to run block.
Johnson came into training camp at 255 pounds, 10 lighter than last year. He doesn’t think the lighter weight will be a problem when it comes to blocking effectively.
“It kind of just happened from rehabbing so much every day and working out,” Johnson told the Post-Gazette. “I just leaned up like this. I wasn’t purposely trying to lose weight. I was watching what I was eating and working out every day. This is how I ended up.
“I mostly rely on technique for blocking. I’m pretty sure when the season starts, I’ll gain 5-10 pounds back, so it’s not going to be a problem.”
According to the Post-Gazette, Johnson said he’ll concentrate only on playing his favorite tight end position. Second-year player Will Johnson is reported to have a strong hold on the starting fullback position.
Johnson graduated from Pine Bluff High in 2005 and was drafted out of Arkansas State in 2009.