He played college football for Santa Monica College and Oregon State University, and played eleven seasons in the National Football League (NFL) for the Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots, and the Miami Dolphins.He was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League (NFL) in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft, and played for the Bengals for 10 seasons.On November 2, 2005, Marvin Lewis, the Bengals head coach, replaced Johnson's list with another one titled, Did 85 do everything he could to lead his team to victory 11-6-05.The list, an obvious parody of the original, asked several questions regarding Johnson’s performance both on and off the field.He played for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League (CFL) from 2014 to 2015, and played one game in 2017 for Mexican team Monterrey Fundidores of the Liga de Fútbol Americano Profesional.
While at Santa Monica College, he played with future NFL wide receiver Steve Smith. Houshmandzadeh, he led his team to an 11–1 season and a victory over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl that year.According to the Bengals' official website, the list was aimed to antagonize their divisional rival, the Baltimore Ravens, whom the Bengals would play in four days.Johnson was not pleased with the new list, as he had developed a superstitious faith in the older list. The checklist allowed fans to vote for which NFL quarterback Johnson would like to play catch with the most.Against the New York Jets, in which the Bengals won 38-31, he had 3 receptions for 102 yards and a rush for 15 yards.In the fourth quarter of the Bengals week-nine loss to the Buffalo Bills, Johnson was rolled off the field on a stretcher, with a reported head injury.In the first game of the season, on Monday Night Football against the Baltimore Ravens, Johnson scored the game's first touchdown on a 39-yard pass from Carson Palmer. This gave him a career total of 7,229 receiving yards, breaking the Bengals franchise record previously held by Isaac Curtis.Following the touchdown, he grabbed a jacket that resembles the Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees' jacket that said, "Future H. The very next game against the Seattle Seahawks, he totaled nine receptions for 138 yards as the Bengals lost again.However, after shaving his Mohawk and changing his mentality, he had a breakout game in a losing effort against the San Diego Chargers.Johnson accumulated 260 receiving yards and scored two touchdowns, which broke the previous Bengals record for most receiving yards in a game.He went on to amass 190 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns in a 31-16 win over the New Orleans Saints in the following week.This gave him an NFL record of 450 receiving yards in back-to-back games (currently in 2nd behind Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns who had 498 yards in back to back games in 2013) , breaking the previous record of 448 set by San Francisco 49ers receiver John Taylor in 1989.