Vance Johnson was selected by the Denver Broncos in the second round of the 1985 NFL Draft. A 5’11”, 174 lb. wide receiver from the University of Arizona, Johnson played his entire NFL career for the Broncos from 1985 to 1995. Johnson was a World-Class long jumper. In 1982, Johnson won the NCAA championship, as well as winning the gold medal at the Junior Pan American games. In 1984 Johnson just missed making the U.S. Olympic team, finishing fourth in the long jump at the 1984 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Johnson assisted the Broncos to three Super Bowl appearances in the 1980s and had an impressive performance in Super Bowl XXI, recording five catches for 121 yards and a touchdown. His best season was in 1989, when he recorded 76 receptions for 1,095 yards and seven touchdowns. In his 11 seasons, Johnson recorded 415 receptions for 5,695 yards and 37 touchdowns, while also rushing 17 times for 44 yards. He also gained 689 yards on punt returns, and 1,027 yards returning kickoffs.
As of 2017’s NFL off-season, Vance Johnson held at least 3 Broncos franchise records, including:
- Punt Returns: playoffs (13), playoff season (7 in 1989; with Darrien Gordon)
- 100+ yard receiving games: playoffs (3; with Demaryius Thomas)
Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday spotlights…Vance Johnson.