March 6, 2007
By JEFF CARLTON, Associated Press Writer
IRVING, Texas (AP) -- Brad Johnson made it clear Tuesday that he didn't sign with the Cowboys in order to be Tony Romo's mentor.
"I've never agreed with that terminology, that term: mentor," Johnson said in a conference call. "My role is to be ready to play at any moment, and my role will be defined in time."
Johnson became an unrestricted free agent last week after he was released by Minnesota. The Cowboys needed another quarterback after releasing Drew Bledsoe, who lost the starting job to Romo in the Cowboys' seventh game last season.
Johnson's deal is reportedly for three years and $7.5 million.
Johnson, 38, said his decision came down to the Cowboys and Broncos. He chose the Cowboys because of his friendship with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and his displeasure with the role the Broncos had in mind for him -- as mentor to quarterback Jay Cutler.
"They drafted Jay in the first round and he is the franchise. They want him there for the next 10 years," Johnson said. "He is loaded with potential and talent and they are looking for more of a mentor kind of role. That mentor thing, I really kind of disagreed with that."
Johnson, who was a teammate of Garrett's in Tampa Bay for part of one season, said he hopes Romo and the Cowboys have a successful season but added that he is "not there for my health." Johnson plans to have a role in that success, and not one that involves holding a clipboard.
Romo, he said, "already has a quarterback coach. He doesn't need another coach. My thing is to work hard in practice and have a great relationship with Tony and hopefully he has the best year of his life."
In a statement, the Cowboys said Johnson "will provide depth and experience" in his 16th NFL season.
Johnson went 6-8 as a starter last season, losing his role to backup Tarvaris Jackson for the last two games. He completed 62 percent of his passes, with nine touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
Johnson started the 2005 season as a backup, replacing the injured Daunte Culpepper after seven games. Johnson went 7-2 that season with 12 touchdowns and four interceptions.
Johnson, who won a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay after the 2002 season, has thrown for 28,548 yards with 164 touchdowns and 117 interceptions in his career.
Associated Press Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins in Dallas contributed to this report.
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