Charles Johnson: Former Number 1 Pick, Dies At 50


Charles Johnson, a first-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers and a great wide receiver at Colorado, passed away at the age of 50.

Johnson passed away on Wednesday afternoon, with no reported cause of death. According to reports, he was employed as the assistant athletic director at Heritage High School in Wake Forest, North Carolina, at the time of his demise.

Charles Johnson played five seasons for Pittsburgh, making 247 receptions for 3,400 yards and 15 touchdowns. He was selected by the Steelers with the 17th overall pick in the 1994 NFL Draft. 

He produced a career-high 1,008 yards and three touchdowns on 60 receptions in 1996, which was his best season with the Steelers.

Johnson played for the Steelers in 76 regular-season games, starting 58 of them, and recording 247 receptions for 3,400 yards (13.8 average) and 15 touchdowns. 

In six playoff games, he added 11 more catches for 171 yards (15.5 average) and a touchdown. In 1996, when he caught 60 receptions for 1,008 yards (16.8 average) and three touchdowns, he had his greatest season in Pittsburgh.

With his friend Stewart serving as the team’s full-time starter at quarterback during the 1997–1998 seasons, Johnson hauled in 111 passes for 1,383 yards (10.7 average) and nine touchdowns. 

Johnson signed a contract with Philadelphia as an unrestricted free agent after the 1998 season and left the Steelers. Johnson played one year in New England and one year in Buffalo after spending two seasons with the Eagles.

He was a member of the Super Bowl XXXVI-winning Patriots squad.

Charles Johnson began coaching high school football after his NFL career ended in 2003, and most recently he worked as the assistant athletic director at Heritage High School in Wake Forest, North Carolina.

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