Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Johnson, Hali Return with Eyes on Title ; Both Chiefs Linebackers Inked Three-Year Contracts

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Johnson, Hali Return with Eyes on Title ; Both Chiefs Linebackers Inked Three-Year Contracts

Article excerpt

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Two of the Chiefs' longest-tenured players are back with a specific mission in mind.

Individual accomplishments don't matter to inside linebacker Derrick Johnson and outside linebacker Tamba Hali, both of whom signed three-year contracts to stay in Kansas City before the start of free agency.

Instead, the pair has a bigger vision on how they want their respective careers to end, regardless of role at this stage of their respective careers.

"Our main goal here is to win the Lombardi Trophy and risking injury trying to do more than is needed, it's not going to help our team," Hali said Thursday in a conference call with Chiefs beat writers. "Right now, it's my focus, and I'm sure Derrick's focus, we're really focused on our team as a whole and not what we can do individually."

The 33-year-old Johnson, who joined the Chiefs in 2005 as a first- round pick out of Texas, agreed emphatically during his conference call.

"My goal is to win a Lombardi Trophy, it's to have that ring on my finger," Johnson said. "Signing this three-year deal, it just assures that I can help this team win. That's all I want to do, is be a part of this great legacy that's about to go on now."

The 32-year-old Hali, who joined the Chiefs in 2006 as a first- round selection out of Penn State, said his love for the game hasn't diminished. He added he likes proving to himself and to others he remains one of the league's top pass rushers.

But ultimately his return comes down to the chance to help the Chiefs win it all.

"Those things still drive me to be in the game and the top of the list is to win a Super Bowl," Hali said. "That's the biggest drive. If we can get that done, it'd be nice to do it again and again."

Hali and Johnson could have at least three shots to accomplish their mission if they play out the duration of their new contracts.

It is tough to argue against Kansas City appearing on the cusp of making that run and the past three seasons offer evidence.

Since head coach Andy Reid arrived in 2013, the Chiefs have compiled a 31-17 record and made the postseason twice. …

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