They were the NFL’s most feared foursome of the late 80s and early 90s. The Dome Patrol featured four Pro Bowl linebackers: Ricky Jackson, Sam Mills, Pat Swilling and Vaughn Johnson. It was announced yesterday that Johnson lost his battle with kidney disease. He was 57.
The once anonymous linebacker joined the Saints in 1986. It was Head Coach Jim Mora’s first season with the team, and his years in the USFL made him aware of Johnson who spent two seasons with the Jacksonville Bulls. It didn’t take long for opponents to become familiar with Johnson’s hard-hitting style. He played eight seasons with New Orleans and one with the Philadelphia Eagles, recording 669 tackles during a career that included four Pro Bowl appearances.
Johnson was preceded in death by fellow Saints Hall of Famer and Dome Patrol member Sam Mills, who passed away in 2005 after a short battle with intestinal cancer.