Johnson moves to linebacker

Published 7:00 pm Monday, July 19, 2010

Michael Johnson has been in Arizona working with a personal trainer trimming in preparation for making a shift to a new position.

The Cincinnati Bengals player and former Dallas County High School star will be moving from defensive end to outside linebacker, where he will get more playing time and try to use his 6-foot-7 frame as an passing obstacle.

“It gives him more flexibility and will led to more playing time,” Jimmie Coleman, Calhoun Foods store manager and close friend of Johnson, said. “He’s excited about the change.”

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By selecting Carlos Dunlap from the University of Florida in the first round of the NFL Draft in April, the Bengals added depth to a defensive line that already had the likes of five-year veteran Frostee Rucker and former University of Alabama star Antwan Odom, who Johnson replaced after an injury.

“He’s very confident,” Johnson’s mother, Thomasene Johnson said. “Since moving to linebacker, he’s been optimistic about the season.”

Coleman said Johnson will be a strong side linebacker and will mainly be a pass rusher. The workouts he’s been doing in Arizona are designed to help build endurance and eliminate what little body fat Johnson has.

“They work every muscle in your body until you can’t do it any more,” Coleman said. “They’re building muscle and losing body fat. He’s also been on a lean diet to reduce fat.”

The Bengals start training camp July 28.