by Pat Freeman
Since I started covering the Buffalo Bills back in 1995 I’ve noticed that the popular media outlets arrive at our weekly media sessions with the Buffalo Bills with their preconceived writing agendas that often times unfairly depict many of the players for the Buffalo Bills. One of these players is star receiver Steve Johnson. One of my esteem colleagues stated that the Bills offense will never be good as long as Steve Johnson was your number#1 receiver. Unfortunately most of my colleagues have become propaganda writers that often times blame players, and don’t target the real problems for team’s player failure on the football field.
Steve Johnson has improved himself from day one since the Bills made him a 7th round pick (224) out of Kentucky . He was elected to be viable projects to back up 2nd round pick James Hardy out of Indiana that year. Many of the Bills coaches noticed that it was Steve Johnson who seemed to be ready to adjust to the NFL game more smoothly than James Hardy who is now out of the League. It is my opinion because what the popular media has viewed as controversial actions of Steve Johnson in the past that he has been elected as the poster child of the Bills 14 losing seasons until they can run him out of town.
Freeman interviewing Johnson during practice at One Bills Drive-cs
Well this is what bothers me the most about the unfair depiction of this young man is that he is an outstanding teammate, family man, husband, and an exceptional athlete who gives back to the community that he plays this game in, and the one where he comes from. Too many times are focus is on what negative we can find about someone other than the positive in sports. Steve Johnson since I have met him will go down as one of my all time favorite Buffalo Bills no matter what happens during his tenure here because of this rare quality that you do not always find in modern professional athletes.
The other point that I would like to make about Steve Johnson is that when he resigned with the Bills he gave them a break in his contract negotiations just to insure that he came back to this franchise. Most of us do not research where he stands in receiver’s pay in the league, and for being a number#1 receiver he only ranks as the 22nd highest paid receiver.
In closing I would like to express my deepest sympathy to Steve Johnson and family after the unexpected passing of his mother recently. That no matter what happens this is one of the finest young men that I have met during my 18 years of covering the Buffalo Bills.
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