Stanton's rookie season came to an official end when the Detroit Lions placed him on injured reserve to open up a roster spot for Johnson, the second overall pick in April's draft.
The former Michigan State quarterback injured his knee during the first week of camp and underwent arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday. The second-round pick was expected to miss all of training camp, meaning he wouldn't get enough practice time to learn Mike Martz's difficult offensive scheme.
Being replaced on the roster by Johnson was a cruel quirk of fate for Stanton, who is projected to eventually be the man throwing him the ball.
"I'm disappointed, because you always want to compete," he said Friday. "But the decision was taken out of my hands, so now I have to go from here."
Stanton signed autographs after Friday morning's workout, chatting with fans who have rooted for him since he was winning state championships at Farmington Harrison High School.
Unfortunately, the memories of him in green-and-gold or Michigan State's green-and-white are all that local fans will have of him for at least one more year.
"In all reality, I wasn't planning on starting this year, or even playing much," he said. "So I just have to take this as a chance to learn. It's not what I wanted, but it isn't a decision I get to make."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press