The Bengals lost star wide receiver Tee Higgins, who suffered a concussion, during Sunday’s Week 1 home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. His status for the team’s Week 2 game against the Dallas Cowboys is unclear.
Johnson took to Twitter on Wednesday evening to let the Bengals know that he’d play for them and that a contract isn’t necessary. Johnson even suggested that the reigning AFC champions could simply use him as a decoy.
The six-time Pro Bowler last played in the NFL in 2011 with the New England Patriots. Though they reached the Super Bowl that year, Johnson struggled in the New England offense. He recorded just 15 receptions for 276 yards and one touchdown in 15 games.
Johnson signed with the Miami Dolphins in the 2012 offseason, but he was released before playing a game for them. The league’s 2006 receiving yards leader briefly played for the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes in 2014.
On Wednesday, Jordan Schultz of theScore reported that Higgins is “doing well”, but it’s unclear if the 23-year-old will suit up against the Cowboys. Higgins caught two passes for 27 yards against the Steelers before suffering the concussion.
Johnson played 10 seasons from the Bengals, from 2001 to 2010. He racked up 751 receptions for 10,783 yards and 66 touchdowns — all franchise records — leading the Bengals to AFC North division crowns in 2005 and 2009. The Oregon State product earned three straight First-Team All-Pro nods from 2003 to ’06.
The Bengals surely won’t be asking Johnson to come out of retirement at the age of 44, but it doesn’t hurt for him to ask. With superstar Ja’Marr Chase and veteran mainstay Tyler Boyd at Joe Burrow’s side, Cincy has more than enough talent at receiver for Burrow to work with.
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