My favorite non 49er is officially a man without a home. The Saints announced the release of tight end Eric Johnson. After trading for Jeremy Shockey, it's not exactly a shocking move. Throw in a nagging ankle injury and it was probably a foregone conclusion.
For those who are frequent visitors you might know of my occasional discussions of the greatness that was Eric Johnson. When the 49ers first drafted Johnson I was intrigued by the possibilities. He played wide receiver at Yale, but was converted to tight end after being selected in the 7th round. Part of my fandom was that everyone loves the underdog story of a 7th round pick (see Grant, Larry).
Johnson was quite solid, if unspectacular his first two seasons. Johnson missed part of 2002 and all of 2003 with injuries that would continue to crop up, even to this day. Of course, in 2004, for one brief season, Eric Johnson saw his talent explode on the scene: 82 receptions and 825 yards on a comically bad 49ers team. I was particularly happy because I had drafted Johnson in the last round of my fantasy football league. Probably the best fantasy selection I'll ever make.
I realize Johnson will not end up back with the 49ers anytime soon. We've got Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker as offensive tight ends, and Billy Bajema for blocking. Consider me one hoping that Johnson signs on somewhere else and can get healthy enough to make an impact once again.