Johnson announced his retirement on Wednesday. The 32-year-old defender had 16 total tackles and a pass defensed in 12 games last season. He had 26 tackles, four sacks, three forced fumbles and two passes defensed in 13 games last season in Carolina.
Johnson had 44 sacks between the 2010 and 2013 seasons. The 6-foot-2, 270-pound Georgia product was a third-round pick in the 2007 NFL Draft.
He is the franchise’s leader in regular season games played by a defensive lineman and is second in Panthers history with 67.5 sacks, 20 forced fumbles and 12 multi-sack games.
Johnson cited back surgery as a reason for his decision to walk away from the game.
“Once you have back surgery, I don’t care who you are, it’s a beast to get back,” Johnson told Panthers.com. “My body was just … I haven’t worked out since this winter. I tried to get motivated to work out, and my body said, ‘We’re not working out right now.’ It was about that time.”
The Panthers have Mario Addison and Julius Peppers listed as their starting defensive ends on their unofficial depth chart. Marquis Haynes and Wes Horton are listed as second string defensive ends. The Panthers’ roster also includes Deashon Hall, Bryan Cox, Jr., Efe Obada and Zach Moore at the position.
Carolina battles the New England Patriots at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.