posted on Mar, 20 2004 @ 10:21 AM
Keyshawn Johnson's reunion with Bill Parcells is finally ensured.
Three weeks after agreeing to a contract with the Parcells-coached Dallas Cowboys, Johnson was able to sign it Friday after Joey Galloway agreed to be
dealt to Tampa Bay in a swap of receivers.
"I'm excited, probably more excited than I was when I won the Super Bowl," said Johnson, who helped the Bucs win the championship following the
2002 season. "It's good to be headed somewhere I'll be working with people who know what I'm about."
The Galloway-for-Johnson deal was in the works since late February. It was delayed because Galloway and the Buccaneers couldn't agree on a
The Bucs offered a one-year deal Thursday for $2 million with another $600,000 in reachable incentives, ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli reported. Galloway
wanted to sleep on it before making a final decision.
His Dallas deal would've paid $6.31 million this season, but the Cowboys likely would've cut him once they got Johnson. Galloway said he knew when he
signed his seven-year, $42 million contract with Dallas in 2000 that it was going to change.
"There was no doubt in my mind I'd have to take a pay cut," Galloway said. "We just had to come to an agreement on what the contract would be. I
think both sides had confidence it would get done. There was no point in time did I want to play with anyone but Tampa Bay."
Johnson was so confident he was coming to Dallas that he already began house hunting.
After all, had the trade fallen through, Tampa Bay would've released him by April 1 to avoid paying a $1 million roster bonus, and he would've signed
with the Cowboys as a free agent. His new contract is for $20 million over four years with a $4 million bonus.
"Honestly, Keyshawn fits better in the system they run in Dallas," Galloway told ESPN Radio on Thursday. "I don't think that's anything personal
against me. He fits better … he's played for Parcells before. They know each other and understand each other. If it works out in Tampa with me,
that's a great fit for me, and I'm excited to have a chance to start over somewhere."
Both players are former 1,000-yard receivers coming off down years. Both originally were acquired for two first-round draft picks and neither lived up
to expectations, although the Bucs did win a Super Bowl with Johnson.
Tampa Bay made Johnson inactive the final six games last season, citing his ongoing squabbles with coach Jon Gruden as a detriment to the team.
Similar problems aren't anticipated in Dallas because he'll be playing for Parcells, his coach for three years with the New York Jets.
"I don't leave Tampa with any hard feelings," Johnson said. "I have good memories. I enjoyed my teammates and did some good things there. I don't
have anything bad to say about my time there."
While Johnson played only 10 games, his numbers (45 catches for 600 yards and three touchdowns) were almost as good as Galloway put up in 15 games --
34 catches for 672 yards and two TDs. They were his lowest totals in his three full seasons with the Cowboys.
Johnson expects to be happy in Dallas because of Parcells. That's what the Cowboys are counting on, too.
They do have a successful track record together: In three seasons with the New York Jets, Johnson made the Pro Bowl twice. His position coach those
years was Todd Haley, hired by the Cowboys in January.
The Jets came within a game of the Super Bowl their second season. After the third, Parcells moved into the front office, dealing Johnson to the
"I'm looking forward to reuniting with old friends and try to finish to what we were trying to accomplish before," Johnson said. "That journey was
Parcells hasn't spoken publicly since the end of the season, but he said a lot about Johnson before Dallas played Tampa Bay in October. That same
week, Johnson tweaked Gruden by calling Parcells his favorite coach.
Parcells called Johnson among his favorite players, saying "I could not say one negative thing about the guy. ... And I like him personally."
"I thought Keyshawn was a player that would attempt to do pretty much anything on the football field that you asked him to do," Parcells said.
"He's a tremendous blocker, probably one of the best two or three guys in football. And he would block anybody: defensive linemen, linebackers,
defensive back, anyone. So you gain an appreciation for the player when he'll take on every task with the same amount of enthusiasm as he does pass
Similar things were said about Irvin, who retired after the 1999 season. Besides his blocks and catches over the middle, his strong work ethic and
outgoing attitude made him a leading voice in the locker room.
Johnson's reputation, however, was sealed by a book titled "Just Give Me The Damn Ball!" that came out months after Parcells was hired in New York.
Parcells called the fallout "insignificant compared to what that guy did when he played."Galloway is excited about joining the Bucs for the same
reason Johnson is leaving: Gruden. "Any receiver that's had the opportunity to watch coach Gruden work over the years would be happy to play in his
system," Galloway said. "He knows what I do and what my strengths are."
Galloway expects to use his speed to become the deep threat the Cowboys sought when they traded two first-round picks to Seattle for him in 2000. He
also may return punts.
"We think he's going to be a great complement to our offense," Tampa Bay general manager Bruce Allen said. "He's a unique talent."