Nico’s back in the game, baby

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 16, 2014

Nico Johnson is a Cincinnati Bengal.

The Andalusia native was signed to the Bengals’ roster on Wednesday, according to a Cincinnati blog.

Johnson was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He played in seven games with one start and played in all four of the Chiefs’ 2014 preseason games with 15 tackles and three special teams tackles.

Johnson was then waived and signed to the Chiefs’ practice squad, where he stayed until signing with the Bengals.

This move suits Johnson in many ways.

First off, he will be playing with some former teammates in quarterback AJ McCarron, who is on the reserve/non-football injury list; and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, who is on the active roster.

Bengals linebackers coach Matt Burke spent the last five seasons on the Detroit Lions’ staff.

Those who will remember, the Lions’ coaching staff coached the South squad for the Senior Bowl in January 2013.

Nico played in the senior bowl, so it seems that coach and player have been reunited.

From Cincinnati’s media guide, Burke is a good run-stopping coach, which will help Johnson as he fits better in the 4-3 and 4-4 defensive scheme.

On the roster, Johnson is listed at inside linebacker, 6-foot-2 and 249 pounds. There have been reports indicating that Nico has lost weight to make himself more attractive to other teams.

I guess it worked.

When I saw the news that Nico signed with the Bengals, my heart leapt with excitement because I knew that this was going to give him another big chance at getting some playing time.

Yeah, the Chiefs gave him a great opportunity, but their defensive style really didn’t suit the two-year NFL vet.

Fortunately, he was signed to the practice squad, but from talking with him many times before, I knew that he wanted to contribute in any way possible.

Nico may have been fine helping out on the practice squad, but when a door opened to another team that fit him better, our boy took the opportunity.

Stay tuned to your TV sets Johnson fans because I believe we’ll be seeing his hard work pay off in Ohio.