MIKE BURKE

Allegany Radio Corporation Sports

Cumberland’s Ty Johnson took to Instagram over the weekend and opened up about how the New York Jets released him after telling him to get a surgery he says he didn’t want.

Johnson tore his pectoral muscle while doing a workout away from the team and was released shortly thereafter on April 26 with “a non-football injury” designation. In the Instagram video, he explained how his release happened not long after re-signing with the Jets for the 2023 season.

“I’ve had some dark, dark days, man,” Johnson said.

“Obviously, I went to New York; told them (about the injury). I told them before I reported, I was like, ‘Hey was working out, this is what happened’; saw the team doctor. He said, ‘You need to get it fixed.’

“I flew out the next day (to get the surgery); came back happy that I got it done, even though I didn’t want to get it done.

“That following Wednesday, ‘You’re outta there,’ and I was like, ‘Damn.’

“But at the end of the day, man, I know I’m going to be alright. I know God got my back. Just keep going forward, man.”

The Jets signed Johnson off waivers in 2020 from the Lions, who drafted him in the sixth round out of Maryland in 2019, and he recorded 145 rushes for 652 yards and four touchdowns in two-plus seasons with the team.

He also caught 62 passes for 559 yards and another three touchdowns out of the backfield, in addition to playing 42 percent of the Jets’ special teams snaps.

That New York cut Johnson raises questions over his availability for the start of the 2023 regular season, obviously, as the average time missed after a pectoralis major tendon repair is four to six months.

It is a horrible turn of events for the former Fort Hill Sentinels and Maryland Terps great, particularly after his having just signed a new contract and with the positive trajectory the Jets franchise has been taking. It’s just a horrible turn of events because Ty was injured while doing what he has always done better than anybody else, and that’s to outwork all others.

It is a horrible turn of events for anybody to have to experience the dirty business of the National Football League, but it is particularly galling and upsetting all at once for Ty and for everybody who knows and cares for Ty, because of everything he means and gives to our community.

It is impossible to say what the immediate future will hold for him, but I will continue to say here what I’ve said since the first time I saw him working out at Greenway Avenue Stadium as a sophomore at Fort Hill High School – I wouldn’t bet against Ty Johnson.

In fact, I refuse to bet against Ty Johnson. You could look it up.

The first time I saw Ty was in the spring of his sophomore year at Fort Hill, and he was working out on the field and the track by himself. He was working out feverishly, yet meticulously and, really, there wasn’t much to see, because he was so skinny. On top of that, it was hard to see because he was already so fast.

He was about to get much faster.

His junior football season Ty was the Times-News Area High School Football Player of the Year and helped lead Fort Hill to its first state championship in 16 years.

His senior year, he was consensus All-State again. He was Player of the Year again. And he led Fort Hill to the second straight state championship in what has now become a historic run.

Then we saw him receive a football scholarship to the University of Maryland. Yet there were the so-called football pundits around here, who, by this time, should have known better, who said, “He’ll never play a down at Maryland.”

Don’t bet against him, many of us told the naysayers. Don’t bet against Ty Johnson.

His freshman year at College Park, Johnson, with his performance on the field, quieted the doubters. His sophomore year he became just the ninth ball carrier in Maryland history to rush for over 1,000 yards and he set the school record for most yards per carry in helping Maryland to a bowl game.

His junior and senior years, 364 days apart, he returned kickoffs 100 and 98 yards for touchdowns at Ohio State and at Michigan. He was all-Big Ten Conference for the second year in a row.

His senior year, he became the third player in Maryland football history to amass 4,000 all-purpose yards in his career, and graduated in December as third all-time in all-purpose yardage.

Not bad for a guy who would never play a down at Maryland.

Since then, it’s safe to say, Ty Johnson, of Cumberland, Maryland, has had a pretty darn good career in the NFL, and while the current circumstance is not ideal, I see no reason why he won’t continue to have that pretty darn good career in the NFL.

I truly believe there is nothing Ty won’t accomplish that he puts his mind to. I’ll never bet against him. If it’s something Ty Johnson believes, I’ll always believe.

No, the current circumstance is not ideal. Of course, this is when Ty Johnson has always been at his very best.

Mike Burke writes about sports and other stuff for Allegany Communications. He began covering sports for the Prince George’s Sentinel in 1981 and joined the Cumberland Times-News sports staff in 1984, serving as sports editor for over 30 years. Contact him at [email protected] and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @MikeBurkeMDT