Bronco Beat

Boise State in AFC South: Johnson trying to catch on in Jacksonville

Jacksonville Jaguars safety Jeron Johnson plays against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half of a preseason game Thursday in Jacksonville, Fla.
Jacksonville Jaguars safety Jeron Johnson plays against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half of a preseason game Thursday in Jacksonville, Fla. AP

Only two Boise State players have suited up for the Jacksonville Jaguars, both defensive backs, and Jeron Johnson is trying to make it three.

Johnson was signed by the Jaguars on Aug. 6 after spending the offseason as a free agent. He spent last season with the Seahawks, where he played from 2011 to 2014, with a season with the Redskins in between.

The other Broncos to play for the Jaguars were Gerald Alexander (2009-10) and Rashid Gayle (1996). Johnson is a standout special teams player but it could be tough for him to make the roster, as he is not currently listed on the depth chart. He’s had two tackles and a pass defensed in the Jaguars’ two preseason games.

Next preseason game: vs. Panthers, 5:30 p.m. Thursday

LEE HIGHTOWER, S, COLTS

Hightower played at Boise State in 2011-12 before being kicked off the team. He finished his career at Houston, where he started 11 games in 2015, with 53 tackles (34 solo), one interception, two passes defensed and one forced fumble.

Since Aug. 2, 2016, Hightower has been waived or released by the Colts four times, and spent a month on the Redskins’ practice squad last year. He was signed to a reserve/future contract by the Colts in January. He had two tackles Saturday against the Cowboys.

Next preseason game: at Steelers, 5:30 p.m. Saturday

LENO AND BEARS

The Chicago Bears announced Wednesday that they have given former Boise State offensive tackle Charles Leno a contract extension. The NFL Network reported that it is a four-year deal worth $38 million, $21.5 million of it guaranteed.

Leno was a seventh-round pick in 2014 by the Bears and was facing free agency after this season if not for the extension. He has started 29 straight games for Chicago, which drafted quarterback Mitchell Trubisky with the second overall pick in April. Leno will be tasked with protecting the North Carolina product’s blindside as he starts his career.

“We were so fortunate to (have him),” Bears general manager Ryan Pace told the Chicago Tribune. “He’s got great athleticism. He’s long. I like Leno a lot. I like his makeup. I like his intelligence.”

This is the seventh in our series looking at former Boise State players in the NFL. Previously:

NFC East: Kellen Moore, Orlando Scandrick, Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence, Donte Deayon, Darian Thompson

NFC North: Charles Leno, Sam McCaskill

NFC South: Doug Martin, Jeremy McNichols, Jonathan Moxey, Travis Averill

NFC West: Rees Odhiambo, Chanceller James

AFC East: Jay Ajayi, Shea McClellin, Tanner Vallejo

AFC North: Jamar Taylor, Kamalei Correa, George Iloka

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