Stevie Johnson thought Bills would move on without him
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • July 24, 2012 @ 9:21am
Stevie Johnson thought he was a goner from the Bills’ organization after his “Happy New Years” TD celebration earned a benching against New England in Week 17, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Michael Silver.
“At that point I was thinking I was done with Buffalo,” Johnson recalled to Silver. “I was like, ‘They benched me? Really?’ I figured I’d go back to Hunter’s Point [to play for the 49ers]. But the [Bills] stepped up and paid me. And it felt so good to be wanted.”
Buffalo signed its No. 1 receiver to a five-year, $36.25 million contract on March 5 with $18 million guaranteed, prompting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to have “He’s Back!” etched into hair. The seventh-round wide-out from Kentucky had surgery on his groin this off-season, but he’s expected to be 100% for training camp, which begins Thursday at St. John Fisher.
SJ13 is toeing a fine line, however, in bringing a more vibrant, positive—even rebellious culture to a Buffalo team desperate for a trip to the playoffs. He told Silver that he’s not going to stop celebrating, but he’ll avoid hurting the team in the process.
“It’s way more than just me,” Johnson said to Silver. “When I say we’re gonna handle our business and have fun, that means we’re gonna score touchdowns and dance afterward and say what we want. That’s what I’m trying to bring to Buffalo.”
Johnson has worked feverishly to grow his personal brand this off-season, whether it’s collaborating on hip-hop tracks with Game or filming videos of him dropping fake babies. He clearly still abides by the “Why So Serious?” motto.
The late-season benching served as a stern warning to Johnson that Gailey didn’t have patience for actions that celebrated the individual above the team, and I can’t imagine that Johnson will have much slack in 2012, especially considering how much the Bills will be relying on him in the passing game. His energy and positivity is certainly a blessing for the organization, but it needs to be harnessed a little to keep SJ13 from trouble.
(Header photo from Buffalo Bills’ Facebook page).