Ben Johnson Explanation

Ben Johnson reveals why he dropped so far in the NFL Draft, and talks about a day he ranks as the worst in his life.

What kind of a day was this for you?

Johnson: Ohhh. I tell you what. It was probably the worst day I've ever been through. If I go to hell, I'll know what it's like.

Can you describe what it was like? Did you turn the TV off, or how did you handle it?

Johnson: I pretty much sat in my recliner all day and watched the TV. I watched everybody go by and by and by. I kept saying, I'm better than this guy, I'm better this guy, why are they going ahead of me? Just questioning myself, I don't know.

Do you have any answers?

Johnson: They found a bulging disc in my lower back and that's it. They didn't want to take a chance on me. Nobody wanted to take a chance on me.

When did they find that?

Johnson: They found that at the (NFL) Combine, then they went for the Combine recheck (about 3-4 weeks ago), and saw that it was just about the same.

Is the bulging disc a concern in your mind?

Johnson: No, not at all, because I've had no problems with it whatsoever, and I feel healthy, personally.

Do you think you've always had it?

Johnson: It's hard to say. I don't know. I've never had any problems with it, so I have no idea.

In some ways, will this make you more determined?

Johnson: Oh most definitely. I want to make every team that passed me up pay. I can't wait to show them what I can do.

Where were you hoping to go?

Johnson: They had me projected third-fourth round. So I was sitting there in the third and fourth round waiting for the call, waiting for the call, and nobody was calling. I was wondering what was wrong. Finally, Detroit was lucky enough to pick me.

In that time you were waiting, were there any times you thought you were going to get picked?

Johnson: Green Bay was the only one that called me besides Detroit. They called me and said they were going to pick me up in the sixth round, but they decided to go with somebody else.

Did that one hurt the most?

Johnson: You know what? Green Bay is a nice place to play. There would have been a lot of pressure on me. Most definitely, I would have loved to have been drafted by them, but I'm extremely happy to be in Detroit.

What do you know about the offensive line situation there?

Johnson: They are pretty solid across the o-line, but they said they wanted me as a backup. All positions, pretty much, except center. So I think I can do it.

Is there a bright side to this, that it takes some of that pressure off?

Johnson: Right, there's no pressure on me whatsoever. I have everything to prove. I'm a great player, in my mind, and I'm just going to show them what I can do, and hopefully I can crack the starting lineup in the next couple of years.

Had Detroit called you to let you know you were going to be selected, or did you find out with the rest of us, watching on television?

Johnson: ESPN had gone to a break, so Detroit called me and said I was selected, then I saw on ESPN that they had selected me.

Which teams had you worked out for prior to the draft?

Johnson: Cowboys, Arizona and the Buccaneers all worked us out, then there were quite a bit at our Pro Day March 5.

You dreamed about this day for so long. Did you ever envision it turning out this way?

Johnson: No I didn't. I thought I would go a lot higher. I think I have a little better talent than seventh round talent, but I guess I have to prove what I have.

Knowing what's happened with Mark Tauscher, a fellow UW seventh round pick, does that serve as inspiration for you?

Johnson: Most definitely. I looked at his situation the whole time I was sitting there in my chair and said, hey, it doesn't matter where you get drafted. All that matters is how you do on the field.

Have you spoken with your cousin Al since you've been drafted?

Johnson: I spoke to him last night, I spoke to him a little bit today. He wished me good luck. I'm extremely happy that he went to Dallas when he did. He's a great player and I'm really proud of him.

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