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Leonard Johnson “shocked” by throw from Rivers

San Diego Chargers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Getty Images

With the Bucs clinging to a 24-21 lead in the fourth quarter against the Chargers and San Diego driving, quarterback Philip Rivers rolled to the right and he threw the ball.

Leonard Johnson was wide open.  The only problem?  He plays for the Buccaneers.

“I was shocked,” Johnson told PFT by phone after Sunday’s game.  “I had no clue he’d throw that to me.”  Johnson, an undrafted rookie corner from Iowa State who now has an interception in three straight games, said he hesitated before he started running the other way, because it just seemed like it all shouldn’t have been happening.

Johnson said he wasn’t concerned that Chargers guard Louis Vasquez may catch him, even though Vasquez and his 335 pounds seemed to be closing in.  “I would have cut inside if I thought he could get me,” Johnson said, adding that he was a little tired because the interception came after a long drive by San Diego.

As the Bucs move over .500 for the first time this year, Johnson is becoming a key piece of the defensive backfield.  He said that, when the team traded cornerback Aqib Talib to New England, no one told Johnson he’d need to step up.  They didn’t have to.

“I know I’d have to step up,” Johnson said.  He attributes his three interceptions to being in the right place at the right time, thanks to pressure from the defensive line.

Off the field, the right place has been the place there’s no place like.  Johnson, who went to high school in the Tampa area, has been living at home with his mother.

“It keeps me grounded and keeps me humble,” he said.  “Mom is there to tell me what to do.”

Among other things, his mom is telling him to do chores.  “I got smart,” he said.  “I have a couple of game checks in the bank, so I hired maids to do them.”

The way he has played, he’ll be able to hire plenty of maids, despite not being drafted.  “The draft made Leonard Johnson,” he said.  “I felt like I was back to how I grew up, working for everything I had.”

So far, it’s working out for Johnson, and for the Buccaneers.  They’re 5-4 and on their way to a potential wild-card berth.

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16 Responses to “Leonard Johnson “shocked” by throw from Rivers”
  1. tecmobowl34 says: Nov 11, 2012 5:44 PM

    I wonder who the first one will be to criticize this guy for how he spends his own money

  2. ronswansonsdinner says: Nov 11, 2012 5:53 PM

    Leonard, you seem to be a diamond in the rough so far, just don’t take any adderal. Go Bucs!

  3. bucrightoff says: Nov 11, 2012 6:04 PM

    It’s nice to see these young guys getting a chance. The vets weren’t much better so why not build their confidence and grow them for the long term.

  4. billhicks666 says: Nov 11, 2012 6:11 PM

    “Off the field, the right place has been the place there’s no place like.”

    Wow. Writing at its worst. Nice job, Florio.

  5. bucforever says: Nov 11, 2012 6:53 PM

    Hey fans, looks like this next man up thing may really be working. Aquib who? GO BUCS!

  6. CKL says: Nov 11, 2012 7:05 PM

    That was one of the most hilarious INTS I’ve ever seen. It makes it better that even the dude who got the INT was shaking his head in wonder.

  7. joetoronto says: Nov 11, 2012 7:07 PM

    I don’t understand why he was surprised by the throw, Rivers does the same thing, over and over.

    He’ll be running out of real estate with pressure coming, and he just throws it up.

  8. jayquintana says: Nov 11, 2012 7:09 PM

    It’s too soon to refer to yourself in the third person, fella. Wait till you make a Pro Bowl or two.

  9. wjmoffatt says: Nov 11, 2012 7:17 PM

    Never could quit understand how he went undrafted, he played great last year at Iowa State, then toped it off with a heroic performance against the Top WR taken Justin Blackmon late in the year. NFL seriously needs to stop looking into potential so much, that’s how players like Dennard (yes one incident) and Leonard fall in the draft to the last round or go undrafted.
    Bucs rookies are amaing! LaVonte David (top 15 in tackles), Mark Barron (listed in the top ten for rookie race), Doug Martin (2nd in TDs), and Leonard Johnson! Future is promising!

  10. raiderapologist says: Nov 11, 2012 7:53 PM

    Johnson was the only one shocked. Watch some film, son.

  11. axespray says: Nov 11, 2012 8:03 PM

    remember when Rivers was supposedly better than Eli and Big Ben?

  12. r8rh8r says: Nov 11, 2012 8:16 PM

    He must have been the only person that was surprised. Go back to sleep Norv.

  13. jameslongstaffe says: Nov 11, 2012 8:30 PM

    Worst throw I have ever seen. I don’t understand why he does that? This is not the first time… I guess we’ll always be losers in the end. Hard to love being a loser.

  14. indychiefsfan says: Nov 12, 2012 12:16 AM

    Its nice to see a young man getting his chance after going undrafted. I wonder how many other players would succeed if they shared this type of lifestyle? Discipline seems to be a dying attribute these days. Mind your mother…the sky is the limit!

  15. broncosnative says: Nov 12, 2012 8:26 AM

    Rivers: who im gone throw to? Who im gone throw to? Hmmm, he looks open, how about I throw it to him. Wait! Why is he running the wrong way? All damn, that’s the wrong team, oh well back to the drawing board.

  16. nobby821 says: Nov 12, 2012 12:52 PM

    Come on guys, he obviously just tapped A instead of X

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