For Stevie Johnson, the first day of 2012 felt a lot like his final afternoon as a member of the Buffalo Bills.
Sitting on the visitor's bench at Gillette Stadium last Jan. 1, having been sent there by coach Chan Gailey for the balance of the Bills' season-ending defeat to the New England Patriots following a New Year's-themed touchdown celebration, the elusive, flamboyant wideout pondered a future far from the Rust Belt.
A native of San Francisco who grew up in the shadow of Candlestick Park, Johnson's rookie contract was set to expire at the start of the new league year in March. As he sat there on that cold afternoon in Foxborough, Mass., watching the Bills blow a three-touchdown lead and lose by 28 points, Johnson stewed about his situation and daydreamed about signing with the 49ers as an unrestricted free agent. He figured his first-quarter benching was a sign that the Bills were fed up with his on-field antics and that the franchise was prepared to move on Read More »from Bills WR Stevie Johnson will continue to celebrate TDs despite late-season benching in '11