Veteran QB highlight Night Train additions

01/02/03 Night Train Press Release

            Former Detroit Lions quarterback and indoor football veteran Johnny Johnson is one of three new faces coming to La Crosse to compete for a job in 2003. Along with Johnson, wide receivers Jose Banda and Kahn Powell have signed contracts to play for the second-year La Crosse Night Train this season.

            Johnson started his professional career with the Detroit Lions in 1996. He played briefly in the team’s exhibition season completing 14 of 24 passes for 224 yards and six touchdowns after finishing his collegiate career as the fifth-best passer in University of Illinois history, ranked above former NFL quarterback Jeff George.

            While at Illinois, Johnson threw for 5,293 career yards and 35 TD’s. His 432 completions is sixth-best in school history and he is ranked seventh all-time in passing efficiency. Johnson’s banner season at Illinois came in 1994 when he threw for 2,495 yards and 19 TD’s.

            Johnson led Peoria (IFL) to the championship game in 1999 with a 12-2 overall record. He completed over 2,000 yards and 48 TD’s in 12 games that season.

            Banda (5’8, 170 lbs.) and Powell (5’9, 170 lbs.) hope to be targets for Johnson when the season begins in March. Banda, a graduate of UW-Stevens Point, was a member of the 1999 IFL-Champion Green Bay Bombers and caught 24 touchdowns in three seasons with Green Bay. The Milwaukee native was voted Receiver of the Year three years in-a-row (1994-96) while at UW-Stevens Point.

            Powell will bring three years of indoor experience to training camp. He most recently played for the Pensacola Barracudas of AF2 in 2001 after being released by the Grand Rapids Rampage of AFL. The Ft. Hays State graduate holds the school’s single-season record for kick return yards with 782 yards on 28 returns (27.9 ypr).

            In other contract news, Derek Chance, DE, will return to the squad this season. Chance recorded four sacks in the first three games of 2002 before leaving the team for his wedding. He returned to play in the team’s final two games.


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