Derrick Johnson: Demotion in 2009 was worse than Achilles injury

Derrick Johnson was devastated when his Achilles ruptured in his first game of 2014.

But the all-star inside 'backer would take that injury -- and the grueling rehab -- over what he had to go through back in 2009.

That's when then-coach Todd Haley benched Johnson, a future three-time Pro Bowler. It still angers the 11-year veteran to this day.

"I'd had some good games here and there prior to that fifth year when I got benched when the new regime came in with Todd Haley," Johnson told"But if you look at my career after that season, I made the Pro Bowl every year."

Johnson overcame that hardship and then some. He's now eying a return from that season-ending injury and a place among the Chiefs' all-time leading tacklers.

His Achilles feels much better than his ego did after that benching. So in some ways, Johnson is thankful for the demotion; it helped him put his rehab in perspective.

"I was conditioned," Johnson said. "Everything timed up and conditioned me to get my mind right; to say I've come back from something worse than this. So I can do this. That helped me out."

(h/t SportingNews) Jon Rieger -- USA TODAY Sports