Derrick Johnson's magic number is down to seven.
With seven more tackles, the Kansas City Chiefs linebacker will become the leading tackler in team history with an even 1,000, passing the great Gary Spani who played LB for the Chiefs from '78 to '86. That Johnson could come back at all from a torn Achilles is a major achievement given that he's in his 11th NFL season. The fact that Johnson came back to play every snap in the team's first game is a minor miracle.
"I'm almost there," said Johnson this week, via quotes from the Chiefs. "I think the first quarter, I kind of was like a high school kid, just jumping gaps here and there. I wasn't reading like I should. But as I settled down throughout the game, I played a lot better. Watching film, looking back, this game hopefully I can start faster than I did when I started last week. This is the home opener so this is going to be big."
"I thought [Johnson] played very well. He was aggressive downhill, made a lot of plays," said head coach Andy Reid after the win against the Houston Texans.
"All the linebackers are different. They kind of all put their own stamp on how they play. Derrick is a smart player, he's a downhill player and he's able to get small. He's a good-sized guy and he's able to get small and low and be very effective. He's pretty elusive in there."
Johnson and the rest of the Chiefs have a short week preparing for the Denver Broncos on Thursday night in Arrowhead. It's possible that DJ will be able to celebrate the occasion at home in front of Chiefs fans for the home opener. Yet it's clear he only has one focus -- to beat the rival Broncos.
"It would mean a lot to me," said Johnson. "It's one of those things where you're definitely not thinking about it this year - I thought about it last year a lot. My main focus is helping the team win and that record will get broken while I'm doing that."
Johnson also has 22.5 sacks and 11 interceptions in his career.