Fullback Jeff Johnson, a two-time Grey Cup champion over 14 CFL seasons with the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats, announced his retirement Friday.
“I could have never imagined all that I would gain from this great game,” Johnson said in a statement. “I would like to thank the Toronto Argonauts organization for believing in me and giving me the opportunity of a lifetime — it has been a dream come true.
“Thank you to all the fans for your support, dedication and love that you continue to show year after year. Finally, thank you to all my family and friends who have been there from the beginning and for showering me with love and support for 14 incredible years; I love you all. Double Blue forever!”
Johnson spent his first two CFL seasons with Hamilton (2000-2001) before joining the Argos in 2001. He appeared in 234 career games, including 198 with the Argos to stand fifth all-time.
Johnson also appeared in 14 career playoff games with Toronto, winning Grey Cups in 2004 and 2012.
“Jeff has been a consummate professional in every sense of the term,” Argos general manager Jim Barker said. “His work ethic, leadership, sense of family, and enthusiasm for the game have set him apart his entire career.
“I’d like to thank Jeff for his commitment to our team and, although he’ll always be an Argo, wish him well as he begins the next phase of his life.”
Johnson, 36, contributed both on offence and special teams throughout his career. He scored 21 touchdowns and added 113 special-teams tackles following his college career at York.
“Today is a little bit like when I first dropped my daughter at university — it’s the saddest of great days,” said Argos vice chair Mike (Pinball) Clemons, who coached Toronto’s 2004 Grey Cup-winning squad. “You know they’re right where you want them to be in life, but you also know you are going to miss them.
“JJ worked hard on the field and his preparation in the classroom was second to none. My greatest wish is to see our players be great friends, teammates, and community leaders, and most significantly, great husbands and dads. All of which define Jeffrey Edwin Johnson. I love you and I wish you and your family the very best.”