Sports

After up and down career, Derrick Johnson nearing Chiefs franchise record for career tackles

  • Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, left, tries to elude linebacker Derrick Johnson (56) during an NFL football training camp Monday, July 28, 2014, on the Missouri Western State University campus in St. Joseph. Mo. (AP Photo/The St. Joseph News-Press, Todd Weddle)

    Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, left, tries to elude linebacker Derrick Johnson (56) during an NFL football training camp Monday, July 28, 2014, on the Missouri Western State University campus in St. Joseph. Mo. (AP Photo/The St. Joseph News-Press, Todd Weddle)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this oct. 20, 2013 file photo, Houston Texans quarterback Case Keenum (7) is sacked by Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Derrick Johnson (56) during the second half of an NFL football game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. Chiefs middle linebacker Derrick Johnson has had plenty of running mates in his 10-year career. What they've seen over the years is a consummate pro on the verge of setting a franchise record for tackles in a career.  (AP Photo/Ed Zurga, File)

    FILE - In this oct. 20, 2013 file photo, Houston Texans quarterback Case Keenum (7) is sacked by Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Derrick Johnson (56) during the second half of an NFL football game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. Chiefs middle linebacker Derrick Johnson has had plenty of running mates in his 10-year career. What they've seen over the years is a consummate pro on the verge of setting a franchise record for tackles in a career. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Dec. 22, 2013 file photo, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) tries to get rid of the ball while being tackled by Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Derrick Johnson (56) during the first half of an NFL football game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. Chiefs middle linebacker Derrick Johnson has had plenty of running mates in his 10-year career. What they've seen over the years is a consummate pro on the verge of setting a franchise record for tackles in a career.  (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann, File)

    FILE - In this Dec. 22, 2013 file photo, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) tries to get rid of the ball while being tackled by Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Derrick Johnson (56) during the first half of an NFL football game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. Chiefs middle linebacker Derrick Johnson has had plenty of running mates in his 10-year career. What they've seen over the years is a consummate pro on the verge of setting a franchise record for tackles in a career. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann, File)  (The Associated Press)

Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson still believes his best days are ahead.

The 31-year-old veteran is beginning his 10th season, coming off his third Pro Bowl and closing in on the franchise record for tackles.

He needs just 19 to reach 1,000 for his career, which would be one more than Gary Spani recorded from 1978-86.

Johnson said this week that he hasn't thought about hanging up his cleats, even though he'll turn 32 in November.

Johnson said he's still working out in the offseason with Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, and as long as he can keep up with him, he's going to keep going.

Besides, there may be no more valuable player on the Chiefs defense than No. 56.

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