Pirates Add Former NFL Vet to Defensive Line

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The Massachusetts Pirates professional arena football team in Worcester has signed former NFL and University of Georgia defensive tackle Toby Johnson.

Johnson, 6’4” 320 lbs., hails from Moorhead, MS and played two games for the Minnesota Vikings in 2016.  Johnson began his professional career in 2015 when he signed a free agent contract with the Tennessee Titans after going undrafted. That season he also signed contracts with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Chicago Bears. 2016 saw him in camp with the Vikings where he was on the practice squad. In December of that season he was promoted to the active roster and eventually appeared in two games, making two tackles.

The following season he signed with the Carolina Panthers and later with the Detroit Lions. He remained with the Lions until August of 2018.  Now as he joins the Pirates, he hopes to bring leadership and a sense of accountability to the team.

“I pretty much just bounced around. I’ve been a journeyman throughout the league. I’ve been on six different teams in four years. It’s been a “good go.” I’m just happy to be here. I’m not trying to look back on any of that stuff. I’ll just do what I have to do here and hopefully I’ll get back,” Johnson said.

This will be the first time that Johnson will try his hand at arena football and he looks forward to making an impact on the defensive front.

“Most of my career I’ve been getting double teamed playing the inside. Being a “three technique” you kind of get used to it being a part of the game, but now that I’m here getting one on one blocking. I feel like I’ll have a lot of success and be able to help the team out on defense. I’m excited about it.” Johnson went on to say, “It’s small in there and they have the carpet monster so you have to pick up your feet, you can’t be lazy,” he added.

His college career began at Hutchinson Community College and in 2012 was rated as the number one junior college recruit in the nation. After two seasons he was on his way to the Georgia Bulldogs. Between 2013 and 2014 he appeared in 23 games while starting nine, compiling 34 tackles, two sacks and 6.5 tackles for a loss. He now joins one of his friends, former Georgia fullback Quayvon Hicks on the Pirates roster.

“I talked to him a lot even before I got here. He’s one of my good friends. We used to work out together, play basketball; we’ve always been pretty good friends,” he said. 

The Massachusetts Pirates are members of the National Arena League (NAL). The Pirates play all home games at the DCU Center located at 50 Foster St. Worcester, MA. 01608. For more information on the Massachusetts Pirates please call (508) 452-MASS (6277), email contact@masspiratesfootball.com or visit www.masspiratesfootball.com. Single game tickets are available online at ticketmaster.com or the DCU Center Box Office. For group outings please call 508-452-MASS (6277). Follow the Pirates on Facebook at Facebook.com/MAPirates on Instagram @mass.pirates, as well as Twitter @mass_pirates.

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