Former Pirates: Dashawn Johnson

By: Tim O’Brien
Pirates Writer
June 22, 2021

WORCESTER, MA – There are not many players like former Massachusetts Pirate, Dashawn Johnson. Dashawn is what they call a swiss army knife, meaning he can do multiple different things on the field. In the outdoor game, Dashawn was mostly known as an offensive lineman. It was this position that got him an invite to Green Bay Packers mini camp and a workout with the New York Jets, giving him experience at the highest level of football. Although it is a big adjustment to the indoor game, Dashawn had no trouble with the transition, despite realizing how difficult it can be.

“The difference is the speed of the game,” said Johnson. “Arena football is a fast paced, high scoring game. The schemes and concepts are different. When it comes to playing offensive and defensive line, it’s pretty much the same, just a lot faster. The ball gets out in like three seconds in arena. Not everybody can convert from outdoor to arena football. It’s a big adjustment.”

Dashawn not only came into indoor football as a dominant lineman, he came in looking to contribute to his team in any way he can, whether that be blocking, running the ball, or catching passes. He was no stranger to these aspects of the game, however.

“I’ve always been a multi-position athlete. Growing up I played multiple sports that helped with my athleticism. I played a lot of street football growing up as well playing all different positions from quarterback to running back to wide receiver. I feel like I can play every position on the football field. It’s just my size that always kept me on the line. One of the main reasons I like playing arena football is that it allows me to show how athletic and versatile I am. In the outdoor game I would just be playing OL or DL. In arena, I can play both. I can go out and run the ball and catch passes and I love it.”

Dashawn made the most of his time with the Pirates in the 2018 season, playing in 13 games with 99 rushing yards on 41 carries and 10 receiving yards on two receptions with six total touchdowns, showing that he is much more than a lineman. Overall, both on and off the field, he enjoyed his short time with the Pirates.

“I have to say it was great up there and I enjoyed it,” said Johnson. “It was only four hours away from my home state, so that gave my family and friends a chance to come see me play. A lot of them haven’t watched me play since college, so that was great. I enjoyed the team and there were a lot of great guys that year. From the ownership down to the interns, things were good. I enjoyed all the home games because we lived so close to the arena so we could walk there and interact with the fans on the way to the games. It was a great atmosphere.”

After his stint with the Pirates, Dashawn continued to play and now finds himself with the Carolina Cobras of the NAL, where he played in 2019 and where he looks to get himself a ring, which is a huge goal of his. He has come close on many different occasions and has played on some extremely great teams, but they just have not been able to finish the job.

“My ultimate goal is to win a ring. That’s what keeps me going,” said Dashawn. “I’ve been close so many times in my arena career. In 2014, when I was with the Cleveland Gladiators, we made it to the Arena Bowl and lost. In 2017, we made it to the playoffs with the Iowa Barnstormers and with the Pirates in 2018, and we lost in the playoffs again. In the 2019 season with the Carolina Cobras, we made it the championship and lost to the Jacksonville Sharks in the last few minutes of the game.”

He is hungry for a ring and also individually, has a goal of being named a first team all-league player. Once again, he has come so close to that goal as he was named a second team All-NAL player in 2019.

Football is Dashawn’s passion and all of his focus is on his game. Even after he is done playing one day, he would like to explore the world of coaching, but for now, he is focused on his on-the-field goals and looks to continue his success in professional football. He even shares his skills and knowledge of the game with others as he trains kids, helping them with their skills.

“I’ve been focusing on football most of my life. It’s pretty much all I have done. Outside of playing, I would like to coach one day but right now, I am just training kids, helping them better their game. Teaching them things I wished I knew earlier in my football career.”

The Massachusetts Pirates are members of the Indoor Football League (IFL). The Pirates play all home games at Phoenix Field at the DCU Center located at 50 Foster St. Worcester, MA, 01608. For more information on the Massachusetts Pirates please call (508) 452-MASS (6277), email or visit Single game tickets are available now at or the DCU Center Box Office. For season, half-season, luxury, or group ticket packages please call 508-452-MASS (6277). Follow the Pirates on Facebook via, Instagram @mass.pirates, and Twitter @mass_pirates. #GetHooked #AllAboard