After Injury, Derrick Johnson Remains One of the NFL's Top Linebackers from The Mothership
Before 2014, Johnson had missed only seven regular season games in the previous nine years of his career.
He was a rock for the defense and franchise, and now he was going to be challenged in a way he hadn't been before in his career.
All of the rehab, the time and energy spent on getting his veteran body back into the kind of shape he was used to playing at would be difficult.
So how did he respond?
Johnson put up his fifth season with at least 100 tackles, finishing with a team-high 116, while also picking up 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 interceptions and leading the team to its best season in more than two decades.
He was also named a second-team All-Pro by the Associated Press.
Behind the Lens: The Top 10 Photos of 2015 - No. 7 from The Mothership
Date: December 13, 2015
Model: Canon EOS-1D X
Focal Length: 50
Exposure Time: 1/1,250
Taken By: Steve Sanders
NFL Scouting Combine: Best Performances of All Time from The Mothership
The NFL Scouting Combine will be held from February 23-29, 2016, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.
2016 Combine workout schedule:
" Friday, Feb. 26: RB, OL, ST
" Saturday, Feb. 27: QB, WR, TE
" Sunday, Feb. 28: DL, LB
" Monday, Feb. 29: DB
Live coverage begins at 9 a.m. each of the four days and will be streamed on NFL.com.
Here are the top performers in each Combine category dating from 2006 and how their rankings helped in the NFL draft process.
A Chiefs-centric primer on the franchise-tag window, which opens Tuesday around the NFL from The Kansas City Star
The Chiefs - who have used the franchise tag in four of the last five years - have five key free agents who are set to hit the open market when free agency begins on March 4.
Here's a quick breakdown of the different tags they will have at their disposal, plus some analysis from former agent and salary cap expert Joel Corry on whether it makes sense for the Chiefs, who currently have about $30 million in cap room, he says, to tag any of their key pending free agents.
Kansas City Chiefs: Safety Eric Berry is the obvious candidate. The Chiefs have been working toward securing a long-term contract with Berry before the deadline to issue the franchise tag. Naming him as the franchise player would buy the sides more time to agree on a new contract. If a new contract is in place by then, the Chiefs probably won't name a franchise player, though it would make a lot of sense for them to retain young defensive lineman Jaye Howard, who is a free agent. -- Adam Teicher
Position evaluation: Chiefs face uncertainty at outside linebacker from Chiefs Digest
The outside linebacker position produced 21 of the Kansas City Chiefs' 47 sacks in 2015. This number is down from the prior season when Justin Houston had 22 of the position's 28 sacks.
Houston, who signed a six-year, $101 million deal last offseason, anchors the position. But the Chiefs could experience a transition with Tamba Hali's future remaining uncertain. Additionally, Frank Zombo and Dezman Moses scheduled to hit free agency on March 9.
The draft is a percentages game. The more picks a team has, the more productive players it usually comes up with. The Chiefs entered last year's draft with 10 picks, including extra compensatory selections in the third, fifth and sixth rounds. They only made nine choices after dealing their own sixth-round pick in a trade that allowed them to move up and pick Conley.
As of now, the Chiefs have eight picks this year, including a fifth-round choice obtained from Seattle last year in the trade that sent safety Kelcie McCray to the Seahawks. The NFL's formula for awarding comp picks is mysterious, but the Chiefs would be wise if they don't expect any this year. Picks are based on free-agent activity from the previous year and the Chiefs signed wide receiver Jeremy Maclin in 2015.
Chiefs playoff win leads to a busy offseason, changes from The Kansas City Business Journal
The Chiefs also are focused on expanding their market reach closer to home. Last season, the franchise focused on growing its presence in Omaha, setting up Red Friday events in conjunction with Coca-Cola and Hy-Vee. The response was overwhelming, encouraging the team to look for more opportunities. That now may include St. Louis, which just lost the Rams.
"We're going to be really patient with St. Louis," Donovan said. "They've been through a lot. Their hardcore fans were really disappointed with how things worked out. We're going to respect that. We've had businesses in St. Louis reach out to us and say they have marketing dollars and are interested in activating with us. But we're going to be really cautious about that, to make sure we do it in a very respectful way with the Rams fans there."
For now, the Chiefs are focused on rolling out a TV and radio broadcasting plan in St. Louis to make sure the NFL continues to have a presence there.
The Chiefs Community Caring Team and City Year hosted the students and taught them about art, community, and heroes through a quilt workshop that featured Arrowhead Art Collection artist NedRa Bonds.
City Year is an education-focused organization dedicated to helping at-risk students and schools succeed.
"We want the students to be able to think outside the box in regards to art," said Andrew Smitka, Sports Lab Coordinator at Arrowhead Stadium.
Former West Forsyth star ready to wow scouts at NFL Combine from The Winston-Salem Journal
The only effect reports of his dismissal might have, potentially, is to throw up a red flag for NFL scouts.
But if you ask his former high school coach, NFL teams should have absolutely no concerns whatsoever about McCalister or his character.
"Here's what I tell people on the whole story," Snow said. "Did the University of Florida ever say anything about it? ... That's the way I look at it.
"University of Florida never commented on it, and so at that point guess what? ... We've talked about the situations and there's nothing that rings to me to think there's any issues."
It's a good thing for McCalister, then, that people are asking his old coach about it. Snow has already spoken with at least one NFL scout, from the Kansas City Chiefs.
"I asked him what he thought and he says, ‘He will be drafted. Where he'll be drafted I don't know, but he will be drafted,'" Snow said.
Eisenberg: Ravens Hope To Avoid Dead Money In 2016 from BaltimoreRavens.com
Dead money alone didn't bring the Ravens down, of course, but it was among the factors that contributed to their first losing season since 2007.
Photo gallery: Steve Young, Alex Smith play at Pebble Beach Pro-Am from The Deseret News
Young, the Hall of Fame quarterback who excelled at BYU and went to win three Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers, was paired with pro partner Luke Donald. Smith, the current Kansas City Chiefs starter and former University of Utah star who led the Utes to a Fiesta Bowl, was paired with Ben Martin. Neither Young nor Smith made the cut.
Credit GM John Dorsey and coach Andy Reid for building a deep and talented roster capable of earning a playoff berth despite losing one of the NFL's most explosive players (Jamaal Charles) early in the season. With the bulk of the credit for the team's success going to the defense, Defensive Rookie of the Year Marcus Peters deserves kudos for his spectacular play as the Chiefs' CB1. The rookie ballhawk swiped a league-high eight interceptions and defended 26 passes as a suffocating playmaker on the perimeter. Ramik Wilson and D.J. Alexander not only upgraded the team's depth at linebacker, but they played a major role on the Chiefs' special teams units. Offensively, Mitch Morselooks like a keeper as a heady player with exceptional instincts and awareness. He anchored the offensive line with his steady play on the interior. Chris Conley flashed potential as a WR4. He is an electric athlete with the tools to grow into a solid starter down the road. James O'Shaughnessy is still learning the ropes as a young tight end, but appears to be a nice complement to Travis Kelce. Grade: A
In his three seasons with the Chiefs, Smith has gone to the playoffs twice. His postseason record is 1-2.
Bradford and Smith seem like fairly comparable players, from their draft status to their injury history to their relatively slow-starting careers.
The Chiefs have Smith, now 31, starting ahead of Daniel. Daniel has started two games in his three seasons as Smith's backup. He lost a start in 2013 and won one in 2014. He did not start a game in 2015.
If Daniel was a young, up-and-coming talent, it might be appealing to sign him as a free agent. But Daniel is a year older than Bradford. He has played less football than Bradford during the last three seasons without tearing his ACL. Daniel is 6-foot, which makes him four inches shorter than Bradford.
That doesn't mean that Daniel can't be a good starting quarterback. It just means there is absolutely no evidence that he is a good starting quarterback.