FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Wide receiver Damaris Johnson had workouts with four teams from the time he was released by the Houston Texans on Sept. 5 to signing with the New England Patriots on Tuesday. He thought he did well in those workouts, but each time the end result was the same.
The teams sent him back home.
So when he came to New England on Monday, one could have excused him for thinking this time would be no different. He had confidence, but in essence, things were truly out of his control.
“I went back to the hotel because they were meeting and talking about it, which is the same [thing] I did at other workouts when I thought I did pretty well but got the call, ‘We’re going to send you back,’” Johnson relayed Wednesday. “I got the call this time and I was kind of expecting the same thing. Not really doubting myself, but not knowing what to expect. They said they wanted to sign me and I was really excited. It just felt good that someone actually acknowledged what you can do.”
The Patriots and Johnson struck a two-year deal, so if things work out for the 5-foot-8, 175-pound Tulsa alum, he could be part of the mix in 2016 as well.
“Damaris has a good skill set,” coach Bill Belichick said, noting that there is some carry-over to the Patriots’ scheme from him playing in Houston under head coach Bill O’Brien, the former Patriots assistant.
“He’s got good speed, quickness, obviously good hands. He’s done a number of different things, has some versatility offensively and played at different positions, [and] returned kicks.”
Johnson had 31 receptions last season, but didn’t stick with the Texans, who were loaded at receiver and cut him at the end of the preseason. Johnson said it was his understanding that the club wanted more size at their slot receiver spot.
While he hoped for another opportunity in the NFL, Johnson was working out at his alma mater, Destrehan High School, which is located about 20 minutes outside New Orleans. He joked that no one really noticed him because as a “small-statured guy, I fit in with those guys anyway.”
As for how he’ll fit with the receiver-needy Patriots, who have had success with smaller-stature players in the past, he’s excited to find out in what he calls a “slot-friendly” offense.
Photo: New WR Damaris Johnson calls the Patriots a "slot-friendly" offense. Had workouts w/ 4 teams before Patriots. pic.twitter.com/zsElAg4aZn— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) December 2, 2015