18 questions with Stevie Johnson

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1. What are you most excited about in coming back to Buffalo to Lead the Charge?

The thing I’m most excited about is having the family around and being able to experience that Buffalo atmosphere. There’s nothing like it.

2. What was it like being drafted here?

I mean, it was great because that’s what you want, that’s what you work for. Just the opportunity…. I’m going to be here for this opportunity and the people out there, they took me in. They take their players in and we built something special.

3. As someone who has made the most of their opportunity being drafted in a later round, do you have any words of advice for someone who might be in the same position?

Yeah, just believe in your skillset and continuously be in the film [room] watching yourself and watching others at the position and obviously at the opposing position. But, yeah like I started off with, just believe in yourself and your skillset that got you there. That’s what I went off of and that’s what I’m telling these kids that I’m around. Just believe in yourself and go with it. I could’ve went and signed and ran routes the ordinary way, and not saying that’s wrong, but that wasn’t the type of player that I was. That wasn’t going to get me open. I did what I knew, so that’s where the believe in yourself came from.

4. Did you have any pregame rituals when you were here?

No. It was breezy. I just kept it whatever…However the day went, was how it was. I was locked in on games. No rituals really. I guess there was some cool things that I did during the game but it’s not a ritual. One thing that was special to me was, when I was a kid, I’d be in the parking lot and I’d always imagine what it would be like if a player was walking through. And, you know, I did that a few times throughout my seasons there. I think that was pretty cool.

5. Did you have any superstitions?

No. It’s funny you ask that because I thought of things like that when I was coming up in high school and college. You can’t have any superstitions or anything like that because it’s a hold over you. I just wanted to be free-flowing with it [and] let it come how it does.

6. Who was your favorite teammate when you were here?

It was all the receivers. It goes down a list with them. I’m not going to say one name because I’m going to leave somebody out. It goes from the offensive line all the way to the kickers. I vibe with them all. The receiving corps and the DBs because we spent a lot of time together [and] obviously the quarterbacks. But you know, when it came down to physical contact and all that, us and the DBs seemed pretty tight, naturally.

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7. Who was your funniest teammate?

It would probably be Fred [Jackson]…I can’t say he was funny because it makes him seem like he wasn’t as strong as he is, but he was kind of like a pit bull in the locker room. He was always playing around, that kind of fun. He would try and pick you up and wrestle with you. He was already the strongest person on all the teams in the NFL, so when he walked by you had to turn you head and be ready for something. I get after Freddy.

8. If you didn’t play football, what would you have liked to do?

Play basketball. I’d like to play basketball for sure. That was the sport that got me involved in the sports life and obviously it helped me a lot in my career as an NFL player.

9. How old were you when you started playing football?

I started playing football when I was 10 or 11 [years old] – pop warner and just kept it going from there.

10. Did you have any idols growing up?

Yes. When I really got into football, it was around high school. Terrell Owens (T.O.) was a guy that was always on TV, so I watched him. I watched the same guys. Ochocinco, this was the era that I was watching. I saw [Larry] Fitzgerald when he first came in [and] it’s amazing to see him still doing his thing. It was a ton of guys. Steve Smith, I watched him. Man, there was a lot of guys going up. Being from San Francisco, a lot of people think I should say Jerry Rice, but I wasn’t really into football at that time. So, T.O. was that guy and when T.O. came to Buffalo, he taught us some things and showed us some ways. It was pretty cool for me as a kid from San Francisco.

11. What was your favorite place to play on the road when you were here?

Honestly, I enjoyed all of it – everywhere. Once again, this is a crazy opportunity to be in the NFL…When you are coming from where it’s tough, everywhere is home. You don’t get tied in to if it’s a home game or an away game, [because you’re thinking] ‘Man I’m in the NFL right now.’ You have to just love it – the competition, the passion, the fight. So, every game was home. It was fun.

12. What would you say you’re most proud of in your life?

I would say my accomplishment to persevere and get to a place in life where ultimately, I’m able to take care of family. That’s the main thing. There’s a lot that goes into it but just to put it in those words, I’ll leave it at that.

13. What was your favorite part of game day here in Buffalo?

My favorite part of game day? I can give you a moment that I thought, ‘Wow this is amazing.’ When I was a rookie, we’d drive by The Bills Store and you know, they had Lee Evans jerseys and all these guys’ jerseys up there. At the time, I wasn’t playing, and I had a conversation with Freddie like, ‘Man, hey, one day we’re going to have our jerseys in The Bills Store in that window.’ And working, a few years later or what not, and we drive by and I came into the locker room [saying], ‘Hey Freddie, did you see it?’ They had our jerseys up there, so that was a pretty cool moment driving in.

14. What do you do now with most of your time?

Most of my time, I’m either working with the kids, doing something in the house…[and] gratefully I ended up getting my brother into real estate. I just have options to do whatever now. I’m kind of free in that term. I go down with the high school kids and work with them on routes and the mentality of it…I’m enjoying not having obligations of having to be somewhere…It’s whatever I want to do. It’s pretty cool, especially at a time with I have three growing kids, trying to develop them day-to-day with conversation [and] trying to keep them successful. It’s cool. It’s a cool situation to be in.

15. What do you miss most about Buffalo?

Obviously, what I miss most about Buffalo is the people around Buffalo. I made some cool friends in my time there – people I really didn’t expect to meet [and] hang out with. Regular people. That’s pretty much it. People know me to be down in Buffalo and skateboarding through the city or hiding [gifts] throughout the city, the Buffalo people jump on to it…and they get involved. That’s what I really appreciated about it. Any other places…They might not be as involved with their team, with their players, but Buffalo was, so I thought that was really neat.

16. Do you still keep in contact with any of your old teammates?

Yeah, I still keep in contact with the guys. I think you build certain bonds with people and especially the receivers. I can’t even beat around the bush with it – the receivers because you’ve been through the day-to-day grind with them, so I stay in touch with those guys. A few of them are still playing. I [can] name one person right now and that’s Kevin Elliott, playing in the Canadian Football League and that’s cool to see. We still stay in contact and everything’s cool like that. It’s good to keep that bond that you created through the NFL [with] people that you’d probably never meet in your regular life.

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17. Do you still have your 'Why So Serious’ shirt?

I do actually have that ‘Why So Serious’ shirt. It’s in the Bay area. I’m in the process of having it shipped down here to San Diego. It’s still here.

18. Where did you get the idea to do that?

You know those times where it would be like ‘There’s nothing to do right now’ and you’re ready to play ball but you have to wait to go out there? [I was] like okay, let me settle in. I turned on my iPad [and] started watching some highlights of film and then I ended up thinking, ‘I’m playing against, like we talked about earlier, Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson’ – these two guys that I really like watching – let me see what I can do. What can I think of? What are they doing? What are they saying? They were Batman and Robin obviously, so I had to be the Joker being on the opposite team. I just took a risk and it hit good for the people watching.

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