TORONTO – Toronto Argonauts RB/FB Jeff Johnson, who has been a mainstay in the Argonauts’ lineup for more than a decade as well as a member of two championship teams, has announced his retirement from football.
Commented Jeff Johnson, “It is with great humility and great honour that I have decided to retire from the game of football and move on to the next chapter of my life. I could have never imagined all that I would gain from this great game. I would like to thank the Toronto Argonauts organization for believing in me and giving me the opportunity of a lifetime - it has been a dream come true. Thank you to all the fans for your support, dedication and love that you continue to show year after year. Finally, thank you to all my family and friends who have been there from the beginning and for showering me with love and support for 14 incredible years; I love you all. Double Blue forever!”
Known inside the locker room as ‘JJ’, his CFL career spanned 14 seasons - his first two as a member of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2000-2001) and then 12 years in Toronto (2001-2013). He played in 234 regular season CFL games, including 198 regular season games as an Argo which is good for fifth most in team history (behind only Don Moen, 222, Mike O’Shea, 205, Noel Prefontaine, 208, and Danny Nykoluk, 204). He also dressed in 14 CFL playoff games, 11 as an Argonaut, and played in and won two Grey Cup championships, both as an Argo in 2004 and 2012.
Commented Argonauts General Manager Jim Barker, “Jeff has been a consummate professional in every sense of the term. Since I’ve known him, he has been everything one could want in a football player on and off the field. His work ethic, leadership, sense of family, and enthusiasm for the game have set him apart his entire career. I would like to thank Jeff for his commitment to our team and although he’ll always be an Argo, wish him well as he begins the next phase of his life.”
The 36 year old has been among the most durable players in the CFL and was renowned throughout the league for his keen attention to personal fitness. He averaged nearly 17 regular season games played per year, and led teams to playoff appearances nine times. His regular season career numbers include 402 touches for 2,872 combined yards, 21 touchdowns and 113 special teams tackles.
Commented Jeff Johnson’s former coach and current Argonauts Vice Chair Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons, “Today is a little bit like when I first dropped my daughter at university – it’s the saddest of great days. You know they’re right where you want them to be in life, but you also know you are going to miss them. JJ worked hard on the field and his preparation in the classroom was second to none. He is a consummate professional who not only influenced the game with his outstanding play, but he respected the game by honouring our fans. He prepared himself for this day his whole career and now he has the distinction of success on the field and the dignity of options off of it. My greatest wish is to see our players be great friends, teammates, and community leaders, and most significantly, great husbands and dads. All of which define Jeffrey Edwin Johnson. I love you and I wish you and your family the very best.”
A former standout at York University, the Toronto native totalled 618 touches for 4,577 combined yards and 21 touchdowns during his four years there. He was the CIAU Outstanding Rookie in 1996, a three-time First Team OUA all-star and a two-time CIAU Second Team All-Star.