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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Brian Kelly: Keyshawn had great career

Bucs cornerback Brian Kelly counts Keyshawn Johnson as one of his closest friends, so he knew even before today's news that Johnson planned to retire and take a job with ESPN.

Asked to put Johnson's career in perspective, Kelly said: "I think he's a misunderstood player. At the end of the day, as a teammate, you'd like to have him because he plays hard on Sunday. He's just a little opinionated and maybe people can't handle that. But I think he had a great career."

Johnson had a falling out with Bucs coach Jon Gruden in 2003 and was deactivated for the final six games of the season. It was the most widely-documented of Johnson's run-ins with coaches and/or teammates, and has largely shaped his reputation since.

Kelly said Johnson's strong personality will only help him in his next career as a broadcaster.

"It turned out to work in his favor because now everyone will get a chance to listen to him talk and they'll either like or dislike what he says and he'll get a check for it," Kelly said. "I watched him during the draft (on ESPN). I thought he did real good. And he's done a lot of radio stuff, so I've heard him before. He's going to do well."

Johnson finishes his career with 814 receptions, 10,571 yards and 64 touchdowns -- very impressive numbers. They compare favorably with Hall-of-Famers like James Lofton (764 receptions) and Michael Irvin (750 receptions, 65 touchdowns), but the feeling is that Johnson is a long shot for the Hall, in part because of his reputation.

If it were up to you, would you consider Johnson for the Hall of Fame?

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:46pm]


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