Home » AFL reject gets last laugh with $13m NFL deal

AFL reject gets last laugh with $13m NFL deal

Australian punter Cameron Johnston is a rich and happy man after signing a $13m, three year contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The 32-year-old was drafted by the Melbourne Demons in 2011 but did not play an AFL game and was delisted at the end of the season.

Johnston pivoted and signed with ProKick Australia in 2012 and starred as a punter at Ohio State University from 2013-16.

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The Geelong product has since forged a reputation as one of the NFL’s biggest legs while punting for the Philadelphia Eagles (2017-20) and Houston Texans (2021-23).

Johnston was one of the most sought-after punters in a frenzied free agency period and was thrilled to sign with one of the NFL’s most storied franchises.

The Steelers and New England Patriots are tied for the most Super Bowl wins by a team with six apiece.

“To be able to play in the AFC North, going to Ohio State and watching all of the games on TV, to be able to play in this division is massive,” Johnston said.

“My wife is from Columbus, Ohio, so to be able to get back up north, too, we love to be here.”

Johnston – the NFL’s punting yards leader in 2021 – replaces Pressley Harvin on the Steelers roster.

He explained to the US audience how his background in Australian rules football had helped him in his new, and lucrative, career.

“The way you pass the ball in the sport is by punting it,” Johnston said.

“I think the transition is easy, especially in the college game with rollout punts. It’s just a skillset you learn from a very young age that you can transfer to playing over here.”