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Time2play interviews: Stevie Johnson

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As the Buffalo Bills hold on to a commanding leading in the AFC East, Time2play – the online sports betting recommendation portal – sat down with former Bills standout wide receiver Stevie Johnson, who also spent time with the 49ers and Chargers. Now serving as head coach for his former high school team, the 7th round steal and only Bills receiver to ever post three 1,000 yard receiving seasons shared his thoughts on vaccines, the state of the Bills, draft steals, and quarterback Josh Allen’s MVP hopes. 

Interviewer: What do you think of Josh Allen? After a shaky first couple of years in the league, he’s really established himself as an elite quarterback. How far do you think he can go in terms of his legacy in the National Football League?

Stevie: “Yeah, in the National Football League right now, he’s already surpassed a lot of them that’ve been there since (Jim) Kelly I would say. I would say, like (Ryan) Fitzpatrick he was becoming that idol, that role model for Buffalo quarterbacks. 

“Then insert Josh Allen, he’s like a 2.0 version, he’s getting that recognition overall in the NFL which is great and huge for the Bills. But I’ve seen that from the beginning, when he came out, he was throwing passes, he was trying to make throws that weren’t there because we didn’t have the right team just yet. 

“But he wasn’t scared, you know? I was looking at the intangibles of what Josh Allen was doing, and I was like it’s only a matter of time. And then, once we end up signing Stefon Diggs, which was crazy. I was like perfect, there it is, he’s got somebody to throw it to and he’s really healthy, and he’s a creator. They started adding more pieces like these people, and you can see what Josh Allen, what the scouts, saw when they recruited and they drafted.”

Stevie Johnson Buffalo Bills
Stevie Johnson Ryan Fitzpatrick Buffalo Bills

Interviewer: Again, as a former receiver yourself, what do you like about Diggs’ game? What separates him from the other receivers that have been there before?

Stevie: “To be technical about it, his focus, his concentration, making that catch in difficult situations. His mindset, he’s not 6.3″, he’s not 6.5″, I don’t even know if he’s 6.1″ or 6 foot but he’s always at the top of the league when it comes to first downs or big players that you need at certain times, so I think that’s the main thing that I like about him. And then, outside of that, just the style, his charisma with his fans. Just how he handles business, I don’t even know if he was the first-round pick and look where he is now.”

Interviewer: Yep, and the next question; are the Bills legitimate Super Bowl contenders this year? And if so, why?

Stevie: “Yeah definitely, I think we was one game away last time. I say definitely, but I don’t want to be saying it too loosely, like ‘oh yeah for sure’, because we know how these games go. But at the same time, we’re better than last season I would say. The teams around us, I’m not going to say they got worse but, we beat them easier than what we did last year. 

“Once the playoffs come, anything goes and everybody’s on their A-game. It’s fun, it’s entertainment, that’s what we want to see. And yeah, I hope the Bills do take it but anything goes in the latter stages of the season, I know that feeling well enough, trust me!”

Interviewer: As a former draft steal yourself. I believe you were drafted 224th. Who do you think is the biggest steal in today’s NFL?

Stevie: Alvin Kamara. Honestly, I don’t know where he got drafted but I know where he started. So I take it back to this, I was watching the kid at the University of Tennessee, and he was a running back, and I believe he ended up going to the league playing for the 49ers a little bit. 

“Anyway, Kamara was on the bench, he was like the third-string or something, maybe even the fourth-string, he was only returning kicks but he had his nose ring. He was from junior college, which is what I always noticed about him. I was like okay cool, I always support junior college guys. And the starting running back, I guess he went down or he left the school. “

“Anyway, Kamara got his chance, the next thing, wow, you definitely remember who he is! So I think that’s a real draft steal right there, him taking advantage of his opportunities, getting his exposure that he needed. And now he’s one of the top running backs in the league.”

Interviewer: Yeah, he’s such a complete running back, he’s very good. Just moving back to the receivers, there’s a lot of young receivers coming into the league nowadays, they’re all NFL ready. But out of the current crop of wide receivers, who do you think is the best?

Stevie: “I actually like Gabe Davis, from Buffalo, and I feel like he’s not even hit his gears just yet- there’s so much more to come from him because we already have so many talented players around him. He’s really preserving his body but I tell you, in three years he’s going to be on another level than a lot of these other guys because of the experience he’s getting right now. He’s actually bigger than I thought, he’s tall and strong, and should be a problem for DBs. 

“Brandon Aiyuk out of San Francisco is another, I like Jerry Jeudy, I like how he has been handling his business since being a high school player to how he is now. There’s another guy, Ja’Marr Chase, I saw him at the Nike camp and I recognized his moves and stuff, and he ended up creating his own way in LSU and here he is doing in the NFL so that’s pretty cool also.”

Interviewer: Just looking back at your time at Buffalo, you spent most of your career there. But how was it overall? Did you enjoy it? Was it welcoming as a city?

Stevie: “Yeah definitely man. I was chilled then, I kept it cool when it was my turn, I had fun, I connected with the fans. That’s what I felt like I was there for, just making it to the league. I wanted to connect with the fans, it was kind of boring, to be honest when I first arrived, and I always wanted to bring the fans to the field and let them know that we the same, you know we just play the sport and we’re here to create more NFL players.

“It was fun, from the ups to the downs, there was no issues at all. The fans were always welcoming towards me, loving me. They still are you know. I go back often setting up camps and taking part in events.”

 

Stevie Johnson San Francisco 49ers

Interviewer: That’s great. There’s been talk with the Green Bay Packers players, do you have any views on the players being given compulsory vaccines to make sure everyone on the field is safe? 

Stevie: “Yeah you know when it comes down to it, we’re just hoping that everybody’s safe or sanitized. At the end of the day, we’re just trying to protect, they’re trying to protect people and I understand both sides of it. No one wants to be forced, no one wants to be told what to do etc, but when it comes down to it, if you’ve signed something you gotta do what you’ve gotta do.

“You know, I’m not involved in the NFL’s take on it. So I don’t really have to worry about that, in that sense. I’m just on the outside looking in.” 

Interviewer: Do you have any (family-friendly!) stories from the Buffalo locker room that kind of stand out?

“Yeah there’s so many! Fred Jackson called himself The Incredible Hulk and he’s exactly that because every time he walked through the locker room, he was like a loose pitbull. He was trying to wrestle with and see who was stronger than, he always kept it alive in there. Tashard Choice, he’s out in Georgia right now, he was really cool, kept the locker room together.

“Oh man, (Ryan) Fitzpatrick, he was so funny, he comes out wearing everybody else’s clothes and whatnot. He’s done that back in the day, and those two were just like crazy. You didn’t expect this Harvard quarterback or even quarterbacks in general to come out wearing your clothes after you’ve been out there working out and you come back in and you see him walking past in your clothes. So, I mean, it was just loose. It was a good group of men in there.” 

Interviewer: Finally, if you could give us a few quick predictions and a brief reason why? Conference finalists from both the AFC and the NFC, and a Super Bowl winner?

Stevie: “Man, that’s tough, but you know I’m going to go with my Bills on the AFC for sure, but I like what the Chargers are doing right now they’re gaining momentum, they’re looking good but I feel like they’re probably one year behind what the Bills were doing last year.

“The NFC man, it’s tough but I’m going to stick with Brady, and I want to say the 49ers because that’s my home and I’d never knock those guys. I’ll say San Francisco and Tampa will be up there. 

“After that, Buffalo will beat Brady, and Buffalo’s going love it in the Super Bowl because we finally got Brady and the big guys, even though it’s not against the Patriots though! We’d love it if it was the Patriots and Brady, we owe them one.”

Interviewer: How about MVP, what’s your prediction there? 

Stevie: “Right now, it’s looking like if we can keep this up I think Josh Allen would get his first MVP, just because of the plays he’s been doing. What he’s been going from the beginning to now. 

“You know, what the organization’s been doing, how we’re pushing the community that builds my idea. I think he’s got enough voting power in highlight plays to be respected as an MVP, especially if we were to make it to that Bowl. But that’s what I’d go with.”

Stevie Johnson career stats

SeasonTeamGameReceptionsYardsAverageLongTouchdowns
2008Buffalo111010210.2212
2009Buffalo5210550
2010Buffalo16821.07313.14510
2011Buffalo16761,00413.2557
2012Buffalo16791,04613.2636
2013Buffalo125259711.5453
2014San Francisco133543512.4323
2015San Diego104549711.0343
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