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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Home is where the heart is for Johnson, 49ers

23

March

Nothing is finer than to be a 49er for Josh Johnson.

The former Bucs backup quarterback grew up in Oakland but was always a Niners fan even though he was only 8-years old when that franchise won its last Super Bowl behind Steve Young.

So given the opportunity to play for his adoptive hometown team, and be reunited with coach Jim Harbaugh, whom he played for at the University of San Diego, Johnson didn't hesitate to sign a two-year contract with the 49ers.

"That's why the decision was made, it was the right one and it all ended up working out in the end,'' Johnson said Friday. "It's home. That's the obvious thing...that's one of the things I know for sure, my development will contiunue out here under coach Harbaugh and I know how he's going to push me and know the hard work and what's expected.''

Another possibility for Johnson was the Washington Redskins, where he would've been reunited with general manager Bruce Allen.

"They made a strong push and there was a lot of familiarity there as well,'' Johnson said. "When you look at it from top to bottom with the 49ers,

there's so many people on the offensive staff that I've already played under, it was a natural fit.

Johnson, 25, will likely have to compete with second-year pro Colin Kaepernick for the No. 2 spot behind starter Alex Smith, who just signed a three-year contract with the 49ers after a brief flirtation with the Dolphins. San Francisco traded up nine spots in the second round to select Kaepernick last year. But with a team that lost to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship game, the Niners might not believe he's ready for the backup role.

Things might have been even more interesting for Johnson had Smith signed with the Dolphins. But once Peyton Manning chose the Broncos, the quarterback market started falling into place.

In four seasons with the Bucs, Johnson went 0-5 as a starter with five touchdown passes and 10 interceptions for a 57.7 passer rating. But four of those starts came in only his second season.

"I talk a lot from my four years with the Bucs,'' Johnson said. "There were valuable learning experiences for me. I got an opportunity to play young and experienced a lot of different football situations, and when the opportunity comes to play again, that's going to help me. I had a great time and in Tampa Bay and enjoyed my time there and will miss a lot of people.''

 

[Last modified: Friday, March 23, 2012 1:42pm]

    

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