One of several players to leave the New England Patriots in free agency this week, fullback Jakob Johnson took to social media on Thursday to share his goodbye to his now-former team. The 27-year-old posted a lengthy letter, saying thanks to the entire organization from top to bottom.
“I want to express my deepest gratitude to the entire Patriot organization, the City of Boston, the surrounding New England area, and all the Patriots fans across the globe” Johnson wrote in his statement. “You took in three years ago and treated Brittany and I like family from Day 1. For that, I am eternally grateful.”
Entering the NFL as an International Pathway Player in 2019, Johnson joined the Patriots as a roster-exempt 91st player. However, the German-born fullback left a positive impression on the team’s coaching staff as a rookie and eventually found his way onto the practice squad.
By Year 2 and with long-time fullback James Develin retired, Johnson took over as the featured player at the position. Over the next two seasons, he played a prominent role on both the Patriots’ offense and special teams. Coming off the 2021 campaign, he had a total of 38 in-game appearances on his résumé and had touched the football 13 times for 83 yards and a touchdown.
Johnson thanked the team’s head coach, Bill Belichick, for receiving this opportunity.
“Thank you to Coach Belichick for giving an unproven and unknown international guy a chance to fulfill his lifelong dream of playing in the NFL,” Johnson wrote. “I was always treated like any other player on the roster which is all a pathway player can hope for.”
Despite his success and impressive development, the Patriots declined to tender Johnson as a restricted free agent earlier this week. This, in turn, gave the Las Vegas Raiders a chance to scoop him up.
Now, he will try to add to his already remarkable story wearing the silver and black.
Johnson’s full post reads as follows:
I want to express my deepest gratitude to the entire Patriot organization, the City of Boston, the surrounding New England area, and all the Patriots fans across the globe. You took in three years ago and treated Brittany and I like family from Day 1. For that, I am eternally grateful.
Thank you to Mr. Kraft and the entire Kraft family for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime and always being there to support my visions off the field to help make the world a better place. What you have done and will continue to do for the football in Germany will leave an impact for generations to come and is something that will always mean the world to me.
Thank you to Coach Belichick for giving an unproven and unknown international guy a chance to fulfill his lifelong dream of playing in the NFL. I was always treated like any other player on the roster which is all a pathway player can hope for.
Thank you to Coach Caley for coaching me hard and putting himself on the line to give me opportunities to prove myself. I am forever indebted to you.
Thank you to the strength and conditioning staff (Coach Moe, Duron, Wale) for never letting up. Grinding it out with me during the Covid offseason and always being there to push me was instrumental in my development as a player and as a person. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for you guys.
Thank you to the trainers (Brian, Chris, Jared, Cross, Mike, Ryan) for listening to my German rants and making long days fun. The laughs we shared will always be some of the fondest memories of my career.
Thank you tall the New England Patriots support staff that make daily NFL life possible. From the EQ room to the nutritionists, the cafeteria staff, and the PR department, nobody works harder in silence than you guys.
Finally, thank you to all my teammates in the locker room for the lifelong friendships we have created. It was the greatest honor of my life to take the field with you every week and I am proud to call you guys my brothers. We will meet again and my many invitations to Germany still stand.
With all that being said, I am looking forward to the next chapter in Las Vegas!