Johnson, who was told he was no longer required at Geelong at the end of 2015, kicked 43 goals in 22 games at the Giants this season, also providing vital leadership for the young side.
However, at 33, Johnson decided towards the end of the season it was probably time to call it quits. However, following the Giants’ heartbreaking narrow loss to the Bulldogs in the preliminary final, which he missed through suspension, the three-time premiership player changed his mind.
“Six weeks before the end of the year I’d basically told the club that I’d be hanging the boots up,” Johnson told AFL.com.au.
“I hadn’t definitely made my mind up but when I saw the look on the boys’ faces, and the opportunity we’d missed, plus knowing that I probably had a little bit more to give, I decided I wanted to stick around to hopefully help this club try and win a premiership.
“It was really hard to see the boys upset, but it was good in a way to see them hurting so much, because it tells you something about how much it means to them.”
Johnson said he found it difficult to recover in between games late in the season, which prompted him to consider retirement.
“It got to a point where I was pretty sore, and I had a couple of different issues with my foot that I was struggling to get over,” Johnson said.
“I was still playing but given the position we were in, I think both myself and the club could have managed my program and time in games a little bit better.
“So given I’d signed a one-year contract with a view of getting into coaching, I started to wonder what 2017 would look like, and organised to meet with a couple of clubs about coaching in Melbourne which went pretty well.
“I never took my eye off what we were trying to achieve here but it was something I had to consider.
“But the club seemed keen for me to play on and after thinking long and hard about it, I thought why not?”