Jump to content

Landon Johnson


Recommended Posts



Wednesday, June 22, 2005

A day with Landon Johnson

By Mark Curnutte

Enquirer staff writer

A professional football player's life is more than tackles and whatever else happens on the field. And his job extends beyond the season and the actual X's and O's of the game.

Consider a recent offseason day in the life of second-year Bengals linebacker Landon Johnson.

A soft-spoken, private man determined to make his way back from offseason shoulder surgery, Johnson still embraces the other aspects of his profession - making himself accessible to the team's fans through the media and personal appearances, and holding himself up, humbly, as a positive role model.

After one of the Bengals' on-field coaching sessions, a morning he spent rehabbing his shoulder and improving his strength and conditioning, Johnson met with his personal public relations agent, Tim Carley, at Johnson's Colerain Township home.

3:55 p.m. The first stop will be the Kenwood studios of radio station WSAI-AM (1360) and an on-air interview with afternoon sports talk show host, Lance McAlister.

Johnson, who is not so much shy as quiet, discusses his approach to the media while he and Carley drive east on Cross County Highway.

"I kind of consider it fun," he says of the interview process. "It's different than going to work, working out and coming back home."

4:21 p.m. Johnson has appeared in studio before with McAlister.

After settling in behind a microphone, Johnson is asked by a caller about the health of his shoulder.

"They re-attached the labrum and made sure it's all stable," he says. "I'm getting the strength back."

Johnson played in all 16 games, making 11 starts after Nate Webster was lost for the season to injury. Johnson led the team with 133 tackles and averaged more than 13 tackles in the final seven games.

"If you can get an athlete who gets the radio side of things and enjoys speaking to the fans, you don't run across that a lot in my business," McAlister says of Johnson, off the air.

Back on the air, McAlister asks Johnson about his quiet demeanor off the field but aggressive nature in uniform.

"I don't do a whole bunch of yelling and screaming on the field, either, but you can't let people push you around out there," Johnson says.

5:20 p.m. The next stop is Children's Hospital Medical Center, where Johnson will visit with almost a dozen patients.

Johnson is a large man at 6 feet 2, 227 pounds, but he isn't a giant like some of his teammates, who are 6-6 and 300 pounds.

Still, Johnson's presence gets noticed. And he connects especially well with one young patient, 15-year-old Kurt Gallant of Harrison. Kurt, a freshman at St. Xavier High School, had suffered a brain contusion the previous day and was going to have to miss summer soccer.

Johnson says he can empathize with being injured physically and encourages Kurt to do what doctors and his parents tell him.

Julie Gallant, Kurt's mother, recognizes Johnson immediately. She's from Valparaiso, Ind., and is a Purdue football fan. She tells Johnson she is the granddaughter of a famous Purdue graduate and asks Johnson to guess who that might be.

"Neil Armstrong," he says of the astronaut and first human to walk on the moon in 1969.

But the answer is late popcorn baron Orville Redenbacher.

"I didn't know he was a Purdue graduate, too," says Johnson, who earned all-Big Ten academic honors all four seasons with the Boilermakers and graduated with a degree in general health science.

6:35 p.m. Johnson and Carley drive toward the riverfront and Game Day Sports Café on Pete Rose Way.

Johnson's mind is back at the hospital.

"It's kind of sad to see kids going though this," he says. "I feel bad for them. I'm really nobody important or special, but you hope just a visit from anybody would help their day go by faster or be something that they can tell their friends about."

The Reds are in town, and McAlister is holding what he calls a "friends-of-the-show night." He's buying Reds tickets for a few dozen listeners who have shown up at the sports bar.

Johnson stops in to chat with fans. Several approach him with 8-by-10 color photos. Johnson signs each, accepts well wishes and shakes hands.

"Good to meet you, Landon," one man says. "Have a good year."

"Thank you."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm just curious why Landon isn't set to start this season after his performance in 2004. Is it just becuase of the shoulder injury or does Marvin think Odell will be even better? I'll trust whatever Marvin thinks is best, but I can't understand how a guy who put up rookie-of-the-year (ish) numbers could end up on the bench the next season. Anybody know what's goin on that could inform me?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just when I thought there was nothing to be learned from off-season 'human interest' stories, I discover that, lo and behold, Orville Reddenbacker went to the same college as Landon Johnson. I wonder if any snack food magnates went to Brian Simmons' alma mater.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kirk seems to have hit the nail on the head in his "Bengals and the 3-4" article on the homepage.

The base D is 4-3 but, as we've been hearing from Brez. the defense will essentially be multiple -- 4-3, 3-4, and even 4-4.

When Landon plays and how will depend on who the Bengals are playing.

Vs. the Colts, I'd expect to see more Landon in coverage and a 3-4, which Pat Kirwan recently said on the Network drops the Colts scoring avg. by 6 pts a game.

Vs. Ratbirds or Steelers, 4-4 could slow down the power running game with Landon as the 8th in the box (call him a strong safety in that alignment if you want).

This multiple look capability could be what gets the Bengals D over the hump -- finally.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hope you are right schwein. We have to cut down on the 2nd and shorts meaning that we are able to stop the run on first down. Secondly we have to be able to shut down the third and longs from being completed. I hope the addition of Pollack and Geathers continued improvement resolves this weakness.

I also think that LJ will get plenty of playing time. 140+ tackles as a rookie isn't a fluke. Wasn't his nickname, The Silent Assassin" at Purdue? Gotta love it. B)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...