Alexander Johnson is fully at peace about his football playing career.
Diligently training on a daily basis and always mindful about being in peak physical condition, the 30-year-old Gainesville High graduate is confident he has a lot of good years left in the NFL.
“I just have to stay ready so I don’t have to get ready,” said Johnson, who is a free agent, after spending his first four seasons in the league with the Denver Broncos.
In 2021, his time as a starting middle linebacker for the Broncos was halted with a torn right pectoral muscle during the game Oct. 18 against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Having a high threshold for pain, Johnson didn’t think anything serious was going on, until he couldn’t reach out and make a stop that would usually have been routine.
After two full seasons as a starter for the Broncos, recording a career-best 124 stops in 2020, Johnson’s career is now kind of in a holding pattern.
However, he isn’t going to worry.
With two months remaining until NFL teams begin training camp, Johnson is confident that he’ll be picked up by another team in the league.
And then the former star for the University of Tennessee will resume doing what he does best on the field: chasing down quarterbacks and ball carriers.
“I’m just waiting on a team to pull the trigger,” said Johnson.
As one of the league’s most productive players at his position, Johnson’s injury was a real setback.
However, the charismatic football player chooses to look at his situation with an optimistic outlook.
During his rehabilitation, Johnson started dabbling in his newest venture: photography.
With his connections in Colorado, he was able to shoot WWE wrestling events, along with his lifelong passion: the X Games, an extreme winter-sports competition held every year in Aspen, Colorado.
Unable to play, Johnson also shot pictures at both Broncos games and practices.
“(Photography) is a little hobby I always wanted to pick up,” Johnson said. “I taught myself how to do it.”
Since his release in Denver, Johnson and his wife, Alyce, have moved back to east Tennessee with their daughters: Ada Capri, 2, and Avianna, who is an infant.
Anticipating that his time playing in Denver is finished, it’s an experience Johnson will always treasure.
“It was truly a blessing to play for the same team for four years,” Johnson said. “I really enjoyed my time there and we’ll always go back to visit Colorado.”
In Colorado, Johnson also saw his clothing apparel line ‘CB45’ flourish.
And he also used the high altitude to his advantage training, so far hiking four of the 14ers (mountains with a summit of more than 14,000 feet in elevation).
Eventually, he wants to tackle all 58 that Colorado has to offer.
Johnson also remains active with his philanthropy work, such as the Boys and Girls Clubs in Knoxville, and non-profit work with his friend and former Volunteers teammate Curt Maggitt, an NFL free agent.
When he gets a chance, the former Red Elephants star is also eager get back home and sneak in a workout with his former program.
He’s always keeping close tabs on his high school program, which is under the leadership of first-year coach Josh Niblett and has sky-high expectations for 2022.
“I’m excited about what they have going at Gainesville,” Johnson said.