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New Orleans Breakers Flashback: Eric Johnson

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)


The New Orleans Breakers were a United States Football League franchise that played in the Louisiana Superdome for one season, in 1984. The Breakers began their USFL tenure in Boston, in 1983, but a stadium issue forced a move, allowing New Orleans real estate developer Joe Canizaro to buy the team, and move it to New Orleans for the 1984 season.

In 1984, the Breakers began the season 5-0, but went 3-10 the rest of the way, and missed the USFL playoffs.

New Orleans supported the team well, with the Breakers averaging 30,557 per game, but the USFL opted to move their schedule from the spring to the fall in 1986, and with the Saints in town, the franchise elected to move to Portland for the 1985 season.

All summer long, we’re looking back at former players for the New Orleans Breakers.

Today, defensive back Eric Johnson:

Born in Ephrata, Washington, Johnson attended Moses Lake High School, before going on to play his college football for the Washington St. Cougars, from 1971-1973.

Undrafted in the 1974 NFL Draft, Johnson began his professional career in the World Football League, with the Southern California Sun, who he played with for two seasons, from 1974-1975.

Out of football in 1976, Johnson made the roster of the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL. There, Johnson played in 30 games over a two-year period, starting two, while seeing time as a defensive back, as well as on special teams.

In 1979, Johnson moved on to the San Francisco 49ers, playing in eight games, including one start, as a defensive back and special teams performer.

Out of football from 1980-1982, Johnson played sparingly for the New Jersey Generals of the USFL in 1983, before joining the New Orleans Breakers in 1984, at the age of 32.

Johnson was a leader, and a productive performer in his first and only year of professional football with the Breakers in 1984, collecting 58 tackles, which ranked 13th on the team.

The 6-foot-1, 192-pound Johnson also recorded one interception and one fumble recovery.

In 1985, the Breakers moved from New Orleans to Portland, but Johnson didn’t go with them, as his seven-year professional career, which included five teams, over three different leagues, covering an 11-year timespan, came to an end.

Below, watch Johnson, who wore # 37, and the Portland Breakers, take on the Michigan Panthers, from week 12 of the 1984 USFL season, back on Sunday, May 13, 1984:


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