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Ken Johnson (American football)

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Title: Ken Johnson (American football)  
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Subject: Indiana Hoosiers, Ken Johnson, Manny Hendrix, 1973 Cincinnati Bengals season, 1975 Cincinnati Bengals season, 1976 Cincinnati Bengals season
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Ken Johnson (American football)

Ken Johnson
No. 80
Defensive end / Defensive tackle
Personal information
Date of birth: (1947-02-12) February 12, 1947
Place of birth: Anderson, Indiana
Height: 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) Weight: 265 lb (120 kg)
Career information
High school: Anderson (IN)
College: Indiana
Undrafted in 1971
Debuted in 1971 for the Cincinnati Bengals
Last played in 1978 for the Cincinnati Bengals
Career history
*Inactive and/or offseason member only
Roster status: Retired
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played 79
Games started 36
Fumble recoveries 2
Stats at
Stats at
Stats at

Ralph Kenneth Johnson (born February 12, 1947 in Anderson, Indiana is a former professional American football player who played defensive tackle for eight seasons for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Early years

Johnson had to repeat the fifth grade because of low grades and was cut from both his junior high school football and basketball teams. He would eventually develop into a top athlete at Anderson High School (Anderson, Indiana), where he received All-State and All-American honors in both sports as a senior.

He accepted a basketball scholarship from Indiana University, becoming a starter at Center (basketball) as a junior and being voted team MVP. He would repeat as the team MVP the following year and also received All-Big Ten honors. As a senior he began to experiment with alcohol and drugs, which in turn affected his play on the court.

Professional career

Dallas Cowboys

Johnson was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 10th round of 1970 NBA draft, after dropping because of character concerns.

In 1971, although he never played a down of college football, after a successful tryout he signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent, following on the foot steps of Cornell Green, Peter Gent and Percy Howard, as basketball players that were converted by the Cowboys to play professional football.[1] He was eventually waived during the preseason.

Indiana University’s coach, Bob Knight, recommended the 6-foot-6 former basketball player to Gil Brandt, who once said: "Our mistake with Johnson was that we tried to make him into an offensive tackle," Brandt recalled. "The Bengals [who claimed Johnson on waivers from the Cowboys] tried him on the defensive line. That was where he belonged".[2]

Cincinnati Bengals

Johnson was claimed off waivers by the Cincinnati Bengals and was converted to a defensive tackle. The next season he was moved to defensive end, so he could get more playing time.[3]

In 1974 and 1975, he was named the starter at left defensive end. In 1976, the Bengals acquired Coy Bacon who played at a Pro Bowl level and relegated Johnson to a reserve role.

In 1977, he was lost for the season after injuring his knee in the 10th game against the Miami Dolphins. He was released on August 29, 1978.[4]

Personal life

Johnson became an assistant pastor at the Greater Atlanta Healing Temple. He is also a motivational speaker for the Sportsworld Outreach Ministries. In 1977, he nearly died when his vehicle was hit and dragged by a train for more than 100 yards.


  1. ^ Mihoces, Gary (April 20, 2005). "NFL seeks best players on the court or mat". USA Today. Archived from the original on October 28, 2013. Retrieved October 28, 2013. 
  2. ^
  3. ^,3304789
  4. ^,5940510

External links

  • Defensive End Johnson Earns Bengals' Stripe
  • Bengals Then and Now: DE Ken Johnson
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