Ex-Cat Micah Johnson, now in CFL, erasing doubts about surgically repaired knee

July 22, 2014 

Former University of Kentucky standout Micah Johnson, just more than seven months removed from a season-ending ACL injury, played a starring role in a win Friday for the Canadian Football League's Calgary Stampeders.

Johnson, a defensive lineman who is also a former Fort Campbell star and Mr. Football winner in 2005, had seven tackles and a quarterback sack that helped the Stampeders (3-0) preserve a 10-7 victory against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The Calgary Herald reported that Johnson's QB sack on Dan LeFevour was improvised. Johnson and teammate Corey Mace worked a twist so that the defensive tackle could break free. The 9-yard loss pushed the Tiger-Cats back, and they bobbled the tying field-goal attempt on the following snap.

"We allow them to take the coaching and adjust on the fly," defensive line coach DeVone Claybrooks told the newspaper. "They made a great adjustment and it paid off for them."

[Read the Calgary Herald's full report on Johnson's big game]

Johnson has come a long way since his surgery on Dec. 2. Friday's game was his second back since completely tearing his ACL on Nov. 1 in the 2013 season finale.

"If you ask Micah, he's very confident with his knee," Stampeders GM-head coach John Hufnagel told the Calgary Herald. "His first game (in Toronto), he got over the ghost so to speak. He's playing good football."

Johnson, who has had stints with five NFL teams (including the Cincinnati Bengals), told the newspaper that he worked hard to return as quickly as possible from the injury.

"A lot of people try to put a timetable on it," Johnson said. "I didn't see it as a timetable. I saw it as a certain amount of work you need to put in to be ready.

"It's up to that person how they want to put in that time. It varies from player to player. I was fortunate to only tear my ACL. Most guys do damage to other ligaments. I'm really blessed that I was able to return like I did.

"The day I tore it, I was sitting in the locker-room saying that I'm coming back faster than anyone. That's what I tried to do."

Falcons' Corey Peters starting season on PUP list

Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Corey Peters, who played in high school at Central and in college at Kentucky, will start NFL training camp on the physically unable to perform list, Coach Mike Smith told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday. Peters is still recovering from an Achilles injury from last season.

Peters, who had a career-high five sacks last season, was injured against San Francisco on Dec. 23.

"Corey will be rehabbing on the side to start training camp," Smith told the newspaper. "But we have been very optimistic about his work in the offseason with our guys in athletic performance, with the trainers and the doctors. As soon as they clear him, we'll get him back and on the field.

"He's has done a very good job with his rehabilitation."

Bills add former WKU linebacker Xavius Boyd

The Buffalo Bills signed former Western Kentucky linebacker Xavius Boyd and waived linebacker Darrin Kitchens, who was injured in practice Monday.

Boyd went undrafted earlier this year and had spent time with Baltimore before joining the Bills. He led the Hilltoppers last season with 103 tackles and 8 1/2 sacks.

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