The Bootleg: Tell me a little bit about the process of signing with the Cleveland Browns back in the spring. What was it like to be able to sign with an NFL team?
Johnson Bademosi: It was an awesome experience. I went through the entire winter with a training process- trained for my Pro Day, and Pro Day was a big part of the process. It was really exciting, particularly at Stanford, because we had so many prospects…every team showed up to our Pro Day. And we all did well at Pro Day. And so from that point it was just kind of waiting ‘til the draft… wait for people to evaluate you. In the days and weeks before the draft, I'm not sure what everybody else's deal was, but I was in contact a little bit with a couple of teams that showed a little bit of interest and then that led up to draft day. And then on Draft Day, I unfortunately wasn't picked up, but afterwards there was a process of free agency, which was kind of hectic. A lot of different teams calling, a lot of teams making you offers and you and your agent kind of figuring out what's the best position for you based on a couple of potential things, like how much money they're offering and the opportunity there for you to make the team and things of that sort…It's a long process, but it has been enjoyable- a lot of stress in a lot of different ways, but at the end of the day, you're getting an opportunity to play football, which is in my case my dream since I was kid. I'm blessed to be a part of it.
The Bootleg: Now if I have this right- you had to report to Berea for training camp yesterday?
Johnson Bademosi: Yeah, so I reported yesterday (July 24). We did our principles and all that sort of thing, and today we had our first practice.
TB: Speaking of Berea- What is the town like? It looks pretty small according to Google.
JB: Yes, it's pretty small. It's southwest of Cleveland. They love football here. I've never really been to the Midwest and haven't had the Midwestern experience being from Silver Spring, Maryland- right outside of Washington, D.C.- and going from there to the Bay Area and Palo Alto. Those are two different experiences in themselves, but I'm really excited to see new things and see how things in Cleveland are. It's very different, but I enjoy different.
TB: How did that first practice go?
JB: It went well. I made a couple of plays… I'm really excited from that first day. There's definitely room to improve, and I look forward to doing that over the next couple of days.
TB: Taken down Trent Richardson or put two hands on [Oklahoma State QB Brandon] Weeden yet?
JB: *laughs* We haven't had a chance to tackle yet; today was just helmets, but we'll see in the near future.
TB: I'm reading conflicting reports about you being either a safety or cornerback for Cleveland-
JB: I'm a corner, I'm a corner.
TB: In getting ready for training camp, what did you spend the majority of your time working on?
JB: A lot of conditioning- speed conditioning and regular conditioning. A lot of weightlifting, a lot of position drills, one-on-ones and things of that sort. It's just things that are specific to what I was going to be doing.
TB: What has been the biggest adjustment you have needed to make in your short time with an NFL squad?
JB: There are a lot of adjustments I've made on the fly. The defense is a little bit different from Stanford's, but also the same in a lot of ways. So I feel like coming into this, I'm very prepared coming from the system that Stanford had for the past two years. We've had two coaches that were defensive coordinators and our coach now is very capable of being a defensive coordinator in the NFL. Our passing defensive coordinator is with the Oakland Raiders now. And so I feel very prepared in that aspect of things. Otherwise, it's just a lot of the little things that we learned at Stanford are big things here. So things like intricacies of the game- I don't really know how to explain it, but as far as adjusting, it's like things move faster and guys have more ability, so it's just being on all the time.
TB: One Brown draftee and five undrafted Browns free agents are defensive backs of some sort. It's early, but what do you make of your competition?
JB: The guys around me are pretty good, but I'm competing and I plan to do very well, and I know what I do very well. There's still a lot of work to be done. It's probably a little early to be saying things like that- there's a lot more work to be done, but things are looking up.
TB: Trevin Wade is a fellow Pac-12 defensive back and current Cleveland Brown. How well have you gotten to know him?
JB: He's a solid player, he's a good guy.
TB: Tell me about some of the other rookies. Who have you pal'd around with the most?
JB: Some other guys- Emmanuel Acho out of Texas, a linebacker, he's a pretty cool guy, along with James-Michael Johnson out of Nevada, Billy Winn out of Boise State, and there's a lot of other guys. We're all working hard, everybody there are 22-year old guys who are trying to make the most out of their opportunities.
TB: Have you had a chance to catch up with Owen Marecic much? What kind of advice has he given you?
JB: I talk to him a whole lot. He has great advice. He's talked about- in a case like mine- you have a five-week season. Your season is five weeks, or four, and four preseason games. Every game is the game of your life. He talks about special teams, he talks about doing a lot of things you did at Stanford and how Stanford has prepared us in a lot of ways just from a football aspect and from the things he'd physically have me do in the weight room- the conditioning. So he has given me a lot of advice on things that will help me throughout the process.
TB: Have you had a chance to meet with [Browns head coach Pat] Shurmur much? What kind of guy is he?
JB: He's pretty cool; he's really cool. He actually coached at Stanford for a year a little while ago (Shurmur was an offensive line coach on The Farm in 1998). He doesn't raise his voice very much, pretty low-key, but you take him seriously whenever he talks. I'm definitely enjoying playing for him.
TB: How do you deal with the uncertainty of being an undrafted free agent, knowing that nothing is guaranteed for you beyond the immediate moment?
JB: You just kind of live in the moment and you take it practice by practice, rep by rep. You make sure you put your best foot forward and you know you literally have to take somebody's job. The way that they're approaching it is somebody gets a job, somebody doesn't get a job. To be completely honest, there's a 90-man roster now, and it's going to be cut down to 53. A lot of these guys really aren't going to make the team and a lot of these guys are brought in knowing their chances to make the team aren't very realistic. You just kind of have to sift through the BS and sift through a lot of the other stuff and you have to take a really critical perspective on things and be very critical of yourself.
TB: Going into the start of training camp Saturday, when everyone is going, how do you feel about your chances of making the 53-man roster?
JB: I feel pretty good; I feel really good. I'm really confident in my ability and work ethic and I know I'm going to be able to do it. I'm very capable of making an NFL roster. I'm pretty confident about that, whether it's here or in another city.
Cleveland Browns training camp begins this Saturday. Check back on The Bootleg to hear more from your favorite cornerback from Silver Spring!
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