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Denver Broncos sign former Vols LB A.J. Johnson, S Shamarko Thomas

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Former Chicago Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett (80) catches a 17-yard touchdown pass with ex-Pittsburgh Steelers safety Shamarko Thomas (29) in coverage in the fourth quarter on September 22, 2013 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. File photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI

By The Sports Xchange
The Denver Broncos announced on Monday that they have signed linebacker A.J. Johnson.

The Broncos also signed safety Shamarko Thomas, released linebacker Stansly Maponga and placed safety Jamal Carter on injured reserve.

However, the signing of Johnson is the most significant transaction.

[post_ads]Johnson is a rookie who was a three-time All-Southeastern Conference selection at the University of Tennessee from 2011-14. Johnson played 46 career games for the Volunteers and added 30.5 career tackles for a loss, three sacks, one interception, 11 pass breakups, three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.

Last month, Johnson and former Vols teammate Michael Williams were cleared of rape charges that led to Johnson and Williams being dismissed from the Tennessee football program.

"A.J. hasn't had the opportunity to play football for the last three years while resolving a serious legal matter," Broncos general manager John Elway said in a statement. "We've had several conversations with him since he's been cleared and have become very familiar with his background and character. Our organization is confident A.J. is ready to move forward and resume his playing career."

Thomas has played in 60 games, including two starts, in his five-year NFL career. Thomas has totaled 24 tackles (16 solo), one forced fumble and one fumble recovery during his career to go along with 38 special-teams stops. He led the Buffalo Bills in 2017 with nine special-teams tackles in 12 games played.

Carter played all 16 games with the Broncos as a rookie in 2017 after making the team out of training camp as a free agent from the University of Miami.

Maponga has played in three NFL seasons, but has not played in a regular-season game since 2015.

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Sports - U.S. Daily News: Denver Broncos sign former Vols LB A.J. Johnson, S Shamarko Thomas
Denver Broncos sign former Vols LB A.J. Johnson, S Shamarko Thomas
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