Few things in a football coach's career can match the experience of helping your son kick off a NFL career. Larry Johnson coached his son, Jerrod, in high school before the young quarterback set school records at Texas A&M and joining the Eagles for the start of a NFL journey that took him through Dallas, Baltimore, Chicago, Seattle, and Pittsburgh.
Now, Jerrod is following in father's footsteps, coaching the quarterbacks for the Texans and joining the NFL's Coach Accelerator program as one of only 40 invitees chosen based on their high potential to be considered for Head Coaching roles in the future.
"It was it was really cool," Johnson said this week. "It was a unique experience. I'm thankful for the NFL, one to be chosen, two that they did that. I learned a lot from other coaches, a lot of older coaches who have been in the NFL for a long time. And so we had a lot of good conversations there, an opportunity to meet some of the owners, which is a unique experience in itself, but overall, I think it was great for my personal career."
The Texans Quarterbacks Coach says he took away a lot from the experience, from making professional connections and learning how to carry himself to gathering ideas on how to run meetings.
"I don't really know the depths of how it will help, I know it has to be a positive," Johnson said. "But at the end of the day, what came up a lot, you do good work where you are. You pour into the players where you are and you hope your current team and people will notice. And so I took from that to take what I got from there, met some faces and just try to pour into the Texans. And then, we do good things here. The way the profession works, good things may happen for you."
Johnson's approach to coaching reflects his father's attitudes. He saw the pride Larry took in developing young players, and it gave him the coaching bug. But when his playing days ended, the younger Johnson didn't want to jump into his father's footsteps without thinking carefully about how to start and where he wanted it to take him.
"I don't think any player, I don't think it ends on their time," Johnson said of his playing career. "And so I took a couple of years to figure out how I wanted to coach and how I wanted to get back."
Eventually, he decided he wanted to start with the fundamentals. Youth coaching and quarterback lessons turned into an Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator role at Houston's St. Thomas High School. From there, Johnson took an internship with the Indianapolis Colts and began his ascent through the coaching ranks of the NFL.
"I kind of fell in love with the profession," Johnson said. "And so I'm thankful for the Colts and then I got another opportunity with the Vikings and so here I am. But I am thankful that I kind of went through that route because I learned a lot from coaching high school. I learned a lot from coaching young kids and so I'm thankful for the path that got me here."
Johnson is currently in his first season with the Texans after serving as the Assistant QB coach for the Minnesota Vikings last season. Prior to that, Johnson spent three seasons (2019-21) with the Indianapolis Colts as an offensive quality control coach.