WINNIPEG - Jovon Johnson is one of a handful of CFL players who still has his option-year window to the NFL, and he plans to peek through it.
The CFL’s reigning defensive player of the year has changed agents and has a workout lined up with an NFL team. His agent, Darren Gill, wouldn’t say which team it is, while Johnson is downplaying it — for now.
“Of course I’m interested,” the cornerback and kick returner said Saturday from his hometown of Erie, Pa. “Anybody that grows up in the United States dreams of playing in the NFL. That’s the level everyone wants to be at. Opportunities are coming up, but it’s just talk. Until they put money on the line I’ll be in Winnipeg.”
Johnson led the CFL with eight interceptions in 2011 and last month became the first full-time defensive back to win the league’s most outstanding defensive player of the year award.
He was one of the key members of Winnipeg’s top-ranked defence.
His NFL chances have to be considered slim since he’s 28 years old, but he believes he can still make his mark in the world’s top football loop.
Johnson had a cup of coffee with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006, but he believes immaturity was the reason he ended up in the CFL. He feels all grown up now.
“It was definitely a learning experience, and I’ve made the best of my opportunities in the CFL,” Johnson said. “At this point, either way, I’ll be happy to be in Winnipeg next year or if the NFL possibilities come along and I can stick with a team I’ll work with that opportunity as well.”
The league’s new collective bargaining agreement, which was signed in June 2010, doesn’t include the NFL window.
Anyone who signed a contract before July 2010, however, is allowed to sign with an NFL team when they’re going into the option year of their deal.