Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson set to become free agent

Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson (56) celebrates what he thought was a touchdown on a Tennessee Titans fumble during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018, but the play was reversed. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WIBW) -- Linebacker Derrick Johnson will become a free agent after a 13-year stint with the Kansas City Chiefs, the team announced Tuesday.

Johnson's contract ends at the start of the new league year on March 14.

“I’ve been blessed to be a part of the Kansas City Chiefs organization my entire career,” Johnson said. “I’d like to thank the Hunt family, my coaches, teammates and the staff for the tremendous amount of support I received over the years. I love Kansas City and this fan base, they’ve always had my back."

Johnson played in 182 games (169 starts) with the club, recording 27.5 sacks, 14 interceptions (returned four for touchdowns), and 23 forced fumbles.

He is the franchise's all-time leading tackler(1,262 total, 993 solo).

“Letting go of a player like Derrick is particularly tough because of how much respect I have for him as a player and as a person,” Veach said. “He’s had a tremendous career here in Kansas City, and we wish him nothing but the best moving forward.”

“I’m grateful I had the opportunity to coach a player like Derrick,” Reid said. “He’s a passionate football player and a natural leader. I value the amount of quality work he put in every day for us, including teaching our younger players what it means to be a pro. I think he will make an incredible coach when he is done playing the game, if he chooses.”

Johnson, a former first-round pick out of Texas, made four Pro Bowl appearances.