A.J. Johnson Signed by Broncos After LB Was Acquitted of 2015 Rape Charge

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 13, 2018

COLUMBIA, SC - NOVEMBER 01:  Teammate Derek Barnett #9 and A.J. Johnson #45 of the Tennessee Volunteers wait for a play against the South Carolina Gamecocks during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 1, 2014 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos signed linebacker A.J. Johnson after he was acquitted of a 2015 rape charge.

Kyle Fredrickson of the Denver Post reported the news and shared a statement from Broncos president of football operations John Elway:

"A.J. hasn't had the opportunity to play football for the last three years while resolving a serious legal matter. We've had several conversations with him since he's been cleared and have become very familiar with his background and character. Our organization is confident A.J. is ready to move forward and resume his playing career."

Mike Klis of 9News in Denver added the Broncos beat out "nearly" 10 other teams that were interested.

The Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com) reported on the acquittal in July. Johnson was found not guilty on all accounts of the aggravated rape charges he faced along with teammate Michael Williams. A woman said they both raped her at a 2014 party, while defense lawyers said it was consensual sex.

Johnson and Williams were each suspended and didn't play for Tennessee again.

Johnson, 26, tallied more than 100 tackles in each of his final three collegiate seasons and earned All-SEC honors. However, he wasn't invited to the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine and went undrafted following the charges.

The Broncos announced they released linebacker Stansly Maponga in a corresponding move with Johnson's signing.

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