American Football Database
American Football Database
Vance Johnson
No. 82     
Wide receiver
Personal information
Date of birth: (1963-03-13) March 13, 1963 (age 58)
Place of birth: Trenton, New Jersey
Career information
College: Arizona
NFL Draft: 1985 / Round: 2 / Pick: 31
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
* Denver Broncos (19851993)
Career highlights and awards
  • N/A
Receptions     415
Receiving yards     5,695
Receiving touchdowns     37
Stats at

Vance Edward Johnson (born March 13, 1963), is a former professional American football player who was selected by the Denver Broncos in the second round of the 1985 NFL Draft. A 5'11", 174 lb. wide receiver from the University of Arizona, Johnson played his entire NFL career for the Broncos from 1985 to 1995. Johnson was a World-Class long jumper. In 1982, Johnson won the NCAA championship, as well as winning the gold medal at the Junior Pan American games. In 1984 Johnson just missed making the U.S. Olympic team, finishing fourth in the long jump at the 1984 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Johnson assisted the Broncos to three Super Bowl appearances in the 1980s and had an impressive performance in Super Bowl XXI, recording five catches for 121 yards and a touchdown. His best season was in 1989, when he recorded 76 receptions for 1,095 yards and seven touchdowns. In his 11 seasons, Johnson recorded 415 receptions for 5,695 yards and 37 touchdowns, while also rushing 17 times for 44 yards. He also gained 689 yards on punt returns, and 1,027 yards returning kickoffs. Johnson and fellow Broncos wide receivers Ricky Nattiel and Mark Jackson all played together from 1987 to 1992 and were nicknamed "The Three Amigos."[1]

As of 2017's NFL off-season, Vance Johnson held at least 3 Broncos franchise records, including:

Post-NFL Life

During a 1996 episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, Vance admitted to abusing his ex-wife and other women in his life.[2] He is currently an advocate for addiction recovery for athletes post-career.

Johnson owned his own real estate company in Grand Junction, Colorado, and VJ's Outlaw Ribs in Parachute, Colorado, where he lived with his son, Scott. He was the owner of Epicurious in Grand Junction, but in November 2012 Johnson abruptly closed it, leaving a note on the front door of the building, but offering no further explanation. Vaughn Edward Johnson (Vance's son) died from a motorcycle accident in 2007.

Vance is now a rehabilitation ambassador with Oglethorpe INC, using his experiences to help others.


  1. John Mossman, "Broncos’ original “Three Amigos” ride again, living on in NFL history" The Denver Post, (September 4, 2013). Retrieved June 30, 2018.
  2. Vance Johnson reflects on his abusive past

Vance Cares Website