In this week’s edition of “Memory Lane Monday,” I highlight one of the most important positions on the football field: punter. And this is not just any old punter, this is Lee Johnson, one of the all-time greats. Johnson NFL career span 18 years, three of those with New England (1999-01).
Johnson was drafted in the fifth round of the 1985 draft by the Houston Oilers, but he spent the the majority of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals (1988-98). Johnson appeared in Super Bowl XXIII with the Bengals and in that game he set the record for longest punt in a Super Bowl (63 yards).
After publicly criticizing the Bengals management at the end of the 1998 season (the team had not had a winning season since 1990), Johnson was cut loose by the Cincinnati. He left the Bengals as their all-time punter in punts, yards, and punts inside the 20.
Eventually, Johnson was signed by New England prior to the 1999 season. In his first season with the Patriots, Johnson had 90 punts with an average of 41.5 yards and a net average of 37.7 yards. The following season, Johnson booted 89 punts for an average of 42.7 yards and a net average of 38.4 yards.
In his 18 year NFL career, Johnson appeared in 259 games, recording 1,226 punts for 51,979 yards and 317 punts in the 20, with 142 touchbacks. At the time of his retirement, his 51,979 punt yards were third-most in NFL history.
Currently, Johnson is an elite mountain cyclist.
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