Instead he was dignity personified as he confirmed the end of his turbulent three-and-a-half-year reign, eschewing what must have been a temptation to blame his departure on those around him who let him down.
What a contrast with the man who sat alongside him, Rob Andrew, the Rugby Football Union’s elite director, whose demeanour ranged from sheepish to agitated to frustrated as the inquest unfolded.
Andrew, who has seen three England head coaches depart during his reign, made it clear he would not be considering his position, after increasingly direct questioning.
Later he rejected multiple opportunities to declare he would have supported Johnson, had the World Cup-winning former captain wanted to stay on, adding to the perception he was jumping before being pushed.
In between, Andrew questioned journalists’ understanding of his role and the structure of the RFU and gave an impression of impatience for the proceedings. Asked when Johnson’s successor would be appointed, he tersely shot back that he’d get to work as soon as he could get away.
Was Johnson right to go? Probably. Did he have a choice? It is, at best, unclear. Andrew appears to face no such pressure. Such has been the upheaval within the RFU that it is unclear who has the power or the will to evaluate his performance.
An RFU review of the World Cup campaign is underway, we are assured, although the fact it is to be compiled by Andrew himself suggests his job, as ever, remains safe.