When I look for a football player I want a guy that is going to give it his all and wants to win more than anything. Whether that means getting out of his comfort zone or trying to propel his teammates to success. I want a guy that will do everything in their power to win. Stevie Johnson is that type of player.
You don't have to tell a lot of Bills fans that Stevie is a special player. He's not a physically imposing receiver and doesn't have the best attributes that you look for in a receiver but he doesn't care about that. Stevie takes what the good lord gave him and makes it work (I can't believe I just wrote that!). He doesn't care that he's not 6'5" and can jump 50", he doesn't care that he can't run a 4.3. All he cares about is working as hard as he can to be a winner.
Some people don't like his antics but I can relate very closely to Stevie. I'm what you would call an immature person that a lot of people can't identify with. They see things that I do and think i'm a complete moron but I find them funny because I don't care as long as i'm not hurting anyone. Stevie's pretty much the same way. Even with the t-shirt fiasco that he didn't get called a penalty on the first time but had a penalty called the 2nd time I thought it was great, hilarious and exactly the type of thing the Bills and really the NFL needs but a lot of people thought he was hurting the team, even if he didn't get a penalty for it the first time. It was funny! However, it's not that commonality that makes me admire Stevie, it's his work ethic, passion and dedication.
You don't have to look far in the NFL these days to see that a lot of NFL players are kinda panzies compared to the old timer players. I don't have to tell the older fans here about guys that would play with broken bones, sprained this or that, cuts, bruises etc... There certainly seems to be a different mindset than there was even 20 years ago. Guys played hurt all the time and while they do today it seems that guys take games off more frequently than they did in the past. That might not be right, but it feels that way. One player that has shown time and time again the he won't let nagging injury types stop him from being out there is Stevie. He's played through injuries last year and this year and never complains. Some might say that he shouldn't be out there if his performance is suffering because of injury but if Stevie goes down do we really want Ruvell Martin at WR? He's got that old school tough guy mentality, you're going to have to cart me off the field type of mentality. I love it.
When you're a 7th round draft pick most people don't expect you to amount to much of anything. Stevie didn't care, he kept working and working on his craft knowing he'll never be a Larry Fitzgerald or Megatron but doing what he could do to make him successful. It's called work ethic. He has it in spades.
One doesn't have to look much further than today's comments about the state of the Bills and what he's going to do to try and make this team better.
Check out this snippet from BB.com:
"We’ve got to play on the edge. If we’ve got 4th-and-inches, 4th-and-1 whatever it is. Let’s go for it. We’re not an undefeated team here, let’s go for it and scrap and fight for every win. Shake it up.
"That’s something I need to do personally. I need to communicate with the guys on the field and adjust routes when we see DBs playing with a certain leverage. I know I don’t have the power, but I can say something while I’m lined up out there and maybe things will change like that. I just think if I voice my opinion a little more in the huddle then maybe things will be a little bit better. We’ll see what happens. I’m going to try in this coming week."
This is the exact type of mentality that a player should have. "Hey, we're sucking up the joint, let's pick up our (foot)ball sack and go to work. That kind of mentality can permeate a roster. I think of Gene Hackman in The Replacements:
There is no tomorrow for you, and that makes you all very dangerous people!
Stevie is trying to will his teammates to victory. He's trying to instill the work ethic that he has onto his teammates. When his guys see him fighting through injury and taking it upon himself to be a leader on the field people will follow. It's contagious. "Man, Stevie's all banged up but he's trying to take this thing to another level, let's roll with it".
If we had a roster full of guys with the dedication and work ethic that Stevie has I have no doubt that we'd be in the playoffs consistently. He's the exact type of player this team needs and I couldn't be happier we got him. Keep doing your thing Stevie, we need you.
SJ13 - my favorite Bills player. Boo-ya!