‘Swag Impeccable:’ Rams Reactions Pour in for Return of Fan-Favorite Safety

John Johnson III

Getty John Johnson III on October 18, 2020 in Santa Clara during his last season as a Ram before his return to Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Rams found a new way to reenergize the fan base on Monday, August 7 by officially announcing the return of fan favorite safety John Johnson III.

Not only did three words excite the fans with “Guess Who’s Back?” But even mascot Rampage chimed in with two fiery words: Swag impeccable.

Rampage was among many representing the “Rams House” in welcoming back one of the original draft picks of the Sean McVay/Les Snead era.

Popular Rams Gif Returns, Plus Other Online Reactions

There will be Ram fans who most likely remember this dance move Johnson busted out during the NFC title game against the New Orleans Saints in the 2018 season. That gif made its return after the signing was made official.

But there were other notable reactions of excitement for the official return of “JJIII.”

Sosa Kremenjas of Underdog Fantasy was another who welcomed back the safety to L.A.

One other Rams fan offered this suggestion: The franchise gives Johnson a Super Bowl 56 ring even though he was with the Cleveland Browns.

“Give this man an honorary ring,” the fan said.

Johnson Sparked Intrigue About Rams Reunion During August 6 Practice

Before the signing, suspicions grew inside Crawford Field at UC Irvine that Johnson was on his way back to the team that drafted him in 2017 — because he paid a visit to the Rams.

Clad in street clothes, plus captured on video by Maria Serrao of Playing the Field TV, Johnson was seen on the practice field during the Rams’ Sunday, August 6 practice.

Even Rams beat reporter for the Los Angeles Times Gary Klein located Johnson interacting with the general manager who helped bring him into the league.

Klein additionally caught this moment: Johnson signing autographs with his first fan base.

Johnson With the Rams & Browns

Johnson, 27, first arrived to the Rams via Boston College — and brought his sure tackling ability to the City of Angels.

Right after going No. 91 overall in the ’17 draft, Johnson didn’t take long to establish himself as a reliable defender and future leader. He cracked the starting lineup his rookie season and ended up starting in 11 of 16 games. That first-year campaign ended with 75 total tackles, 56 solo stops and 11 pass deflections.

But the following year, and playing for then-defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, Johnson’s game elevated some more: 119 total tackles (still a personal best), 82 solo stops, three tackles for a loss, matching his 2017 pass deflections total of 11 and lastly, snatched four interceptions.

Johnson ended his first Rams tenure with 350 total tackles, 235 stops by himself, eight tackles behind the line of scrimmage. He went on to spend his last two seasons with the Cleveland Browns where he finished with 162 total stops including 107 solo and four combined picks.

His best season with the Browns was last season — which saw Johnson reach his third career triple-digit tackle campaign.

What ‘JJIII’ is Now Walking Right Back Into

After two seasons away, Johnson is likely to take this role once again: Leader of the safety room.

While 2021 captain Jordan Fuller is making his comeback attempt and has stayed healthy during 2023 training camp, the safety room is still short on experience.

Outside of Fuller, no other Rams safety has played more than three seasons in the league. Johnson is now likely going to be involved in a battle with 2022 draft picks Russ Yeast and Quentin Lake.

Johnson is also returning during a critical time for the Rams safeties. The team lost both of their leading safeties of ’22 Taylor Rapp and Nick Scott via free agency. Now, Johnson has a chance to reclaim the spot that made him beloved among Rams fans and bring a swagger back to the backend of the defense.

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