Johnson was released by the team that drafted him just three weeks into his sophomore NFL season. Meanwhile, the Jets struggled to the tune of a 2-14 record putting together one of the worst seasons in franchise history.
But last season is in the past. And going into 2021, both Johnson and the Jets are looking forward to change. A change of scenery, a change of personnel, and most importantly, a change of culture.
Johnson will be at the forefront of that change with the third-year running back expected to play an important role in the Jets' offense this season.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down and speak with Johnson ahead of the start of this season. We talked about a variety of things ranging from his time in Detroit, his first impressions of Robert Saleh and Zach Wilson, and who exactly hurt Olivia Rodrigo?
It was a good time, to say the least.
Thanks to Ty for taking the time to chat with us. Below is a full transcription of our conversation.
Ty Johnson on his time with the Detroit Lions and how he found out the NY Jets had claimed him
Justin Fried: "I want to start by first talking about last season. It was, I'm sure, an eventful one for you. You started the year in Detroit, finished with the Jets. Take me through what must've been a roller coaster of a year for you."
Ty Johnson: "I was going through it honestly. I felt like I was in a position to play way more going into my second year in Detroit. The coaches were calling me saying they were excited to see me. [Matt] Patricia said it was my best camp to that point. Going into Week 1 against the Chicago Bears, I was told face-to-face that there was a plan for me to play. I was told the plays they were trying to get me on, what they were trying to do to get me in open space. So I had high hopes obviously for Year 2. And then, I believe it was the Saints week, going into Week 4, they pulled me aside after practice and told me I was 'donezo.' I was obviously like 'aww man.' I was eating right, I was busting my a--, I was doing everything I possibly could. But I get it, they drafted two running backs in D'Andre Swift and Jason Huntley.
Getting to the Jets, I was actually at a bar in Detroit with Jahlani Tavai, that was my dog in Detroit. I was in my feelings, of course, because who wouldn't be? Jahlani was like, 'let's get some drinks you ain't got nothing to do tomorrow' and I was like, 'you're right, I ain't got nothing to do tomorrow.' So we went to a bar and we were watching the Jets play the Broncos on Thursday Night Football. And I was like 'it would be crazy if I went to the Jets.' Next day, Rex [Hogan] calls me up and that's how it went. I felt like when I got to the Jets, I was still ready to play and do my thing. Obviously, I can't sub myself in, but I felt like I had a few good games that showcased my talent and what I could do. It could have been more productive, but at the end of the day, it is what it is."
JF: "I can only imagine the roller coaster of emotions you went through. Going from thinking you're going to play a big role to getting cut by Week 4. But then you got the opportunity with the Jets and made the most of those limited touches. Hopefully you can get a bigger role this year, and hopefully it's not just talk this time.