Soul Offensive Lineman Christian Johnson signs with the Arizona Cardinals
PHILADELPHIA- Offensive and defensive line coach Phil Bogle has always seen Christian Johnson as an NFL caliber offensive Lineman. “Christian sat down with me at the beginning of the season,” said Bogle “and set some goals for himself. We worked hard on and off the field to prepare him for this opportunity. He’s always been an NFL lineman in my eyes he just had to make the NFL coaches see what I have seen in him and with hard work, sacrifice and total commitment he’s gotten that opportunity. This couldn't have happened to a better individual. He was a leader of not only our team but huge part of our "Trench men" group. I wish him nothing but the best.”
Christian Johnson was placed on other league exempt today by the Philadelphia Soul after he signed a future contract with the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals. The signing is Christian’s first NFL experience after spending his past three seasons in the AFL with the Dallas Vigilantes in 2011 and the Philadelphia Soul in 2012 and 2013. The Soul will now be without an All Arena starter for the second year in a row. Last year Kent Richardson signed a future contract with the Cleveland Browns.
Christian signing a future contract means his contract will not begin until March. A future contract is signed locking a player into a team even though the new league year and contracts don’t begin until early March.
Christian earned first team All Arena honors this past season starting 18-18 games for the Soul. He was part of an offensive line that only allowed seven sacks keeping quarterback Dan Raudabaugh healthy all season. Also on the offensive line was another first team All Arena center Brennan Carvalho and Tight End Jason Jones.
Christian signing with the Cardinals is great for the Soul and the league because any time a player can move up it’s a positive. Christian gets an opportunity to play at the highest level of football and gets to experience the NFL. The Soul and the AFL get their name out there as a talented league with NFL ready players with another player moving up. Soul co-majority owner Ron Jaworski states that rather well also. “We are very excited for Christian and his well-deserved opportunity with the Cardinals, Christian is a leader on and off the field and we are happy to see him get a chance to reach his goal of playing in the NFL.”
Players from the Soul talked about Christians signing with the Cardinals today. Tight End Jason Jones said, “Better man that football player, and that says a lot. He and I lead weekly bible study for the team and he was a good leader in our locker room as a person first, player second. Up most respect for “CJ”, I love him like my brother!” Defensive Lineman Dustin Barno said “I believe Christian has shown over the last few years that he can play football on an elite level. He has also shown that he is a quality person who prides himself on placing others first. The combination of the two is very hard to find. I truly wish him all the best with the Cardinals.”
The signing definitely means the Soul will be without Christian for at least this year if not longer. The Soul have agreed to one year deals with both other offensive lineman and also signed veteran defensive and offensive lineman Jason Holman. Other offensive line pickups have included Adam Smith, Neal Tivis, and Jordan Mosley. Holman has played every single line position in the AFL including fullback making him a prime candidate for the guard position. Tivis is someone we should expect to be a possible replacement next year having played for the Utah Blaze the past two years starting ten games this past season. Smith and Mosley are both rookies and will have to impress in camp to beat Holman and Tivis. I wouldn't expect Carvalho or Jones to move from their positions so the line next year will likely include Jason Holman as the starting offensive guard. Holman has been in the pressure situation playing in an Arena Bowl and winning Iron man of the game and has more experience than Tivis.