With this being Salute to Service week, it's hard not to think about my dad, Baron Johnson. My father served in the Army reserves and then the Air Force. When he was with the reserves he was a medic and was supposed to go to Iraq when I was young. But my mom got sick, and he stayed home with me and my sister. We unfortunately lost my mom, Trina, to breast cancer when I was nine.
When I was in elementary school I remember one of the other girls in my class talked about how her father, who was in the military, was overseas. My dad was still here. I remember how appreciative I was to just have him around because when my mom passed away he was the only one left to take care of us.
That time was really hard for my dad. I was younger, so I didn't understand he was going through some stuff too. If there was one good thing that came out of it, I feel that all three of us got a lot closer. The three of us being my dad, my sister, Treana, and me.
If there is something he instilled in me at a very young age, it was my work ethic and learning from my mistakes. That’s how I got here. I’m not the biggest, strongest or fastest. But, you have to work hard to get to the NFL. Taron Johnson
I'm extremely proud of my dad. He has done a lot for me. He's always trying to come to my NFL games despite living on the other side of the country. He's not asking me to pay to get him here either. He doesn't ask me for anything. He's a really good person and really caring.
I think he's really proud of me and I want to continue to make him happy in any way I can. Football isn't going to be forever, so whatever I can do even beyond football.
If there is something he instilled in me at a very young age, it was my work ethic and learning from my mistakes. That's how I got here. I'm not the biggest, strongest or fastest. But, you have to work hard to get to the NFL.
Sitting here at the midseason mark of my rookie season I feel more comfortable out there on the field. My whole approach for this season is based on progressing as a player. I don't want to look like a rookie on the field. I want to make sure I know what I'm doing. My main goal to play better than people expected me to this season.
One thing I have come to better understand it's what it takes to truly be a professional athlete. There are things I have to do better, like taking care of my body. I feel like I'm working my way towards that.
In order to stay in this league for a long time, like Lorenzo (Alexander) you have to maintain your physical and mental wellness at all times. With each day, I try to stay poised and not get too high and not get too low not matter what happens on the field.
Right now though, I'm more motivated to play than ever. I became a dad on April 3rd when my daughter Jayla was born. She's about seven months old now, so it's been a whirlwind of a rookie year.
Unfortunately, she's not here in Buffalo during the season. It's definitely tough. I FaceTime her a lot and they've been up a couple of times for games. In the offseason I'm going to be with her every day. But right now, it's pretty hard. She'll be coming up at the end of December for Christmas so that'll be good.
She's a big inspiration for me. I know at the end of the day I have to provide for her. The season is grueling but keeping her in mind I just know I've got to keep going. I have to succeed because it's not just about me. It's about her too.
I feel like I'm getting better as a player and I want to continue to grow right through the end of the season. Next year I plan to come back an even better player.
Taron Johnson was drafted in the fourth round of the Bills 2018 draft out of Weber State. He is the first player from Weber State drafted in the NFL since 2010. Johnson ranks fifth on the team with 30 tackles. Based on NFL Next Gen stats, he ranks eighth among NFL defenders in opposing passer rating by holding quarterbacks to a 56.1 rating when targeted (min. 15 targets).