Monday, August 30, 2010

Stafon Fights On.

Peter King wrote the following in his Monday Morning Quarterback piece for I've linked the whole article here.

This is the Stafon part. Reading it makes me proud and honored to be part of the USC family. I will be routing for Stafon for hopefully many years in the NFL. Forget Tebow, I have my NFL inspiration right here:

"Stafon Johnson: "God don't put nothin' on my plate I can't eat.''

"Don't feel sorry for me,'' Stafon Johnson said over the phone from the Titans trainers' room the other day. "My story's not a sob story.''

Sure seems it to me. Last September, the USC running back was lifting weights in the football program's weight room, and a bar with 275 pounds in the bench press came crashing down on his neck. His larynx was crushed. If not for the football strength in his neck, the bar might have broken it. But he survived, and the former mid-round prospect got a free-agent invitation to Titans camp this year. Coach Jeff Fisher, a Trojan himself, was so excited for the first preseason game this year, in Seattle, that he conferenced with the game officials before the game and told them he wanted to be sure that after the first carry of the game by Johnson, the officials took the ball out of play and sent it to the Tennessee sideline. "After all the kid has been through, I want him to have that ball,'' Fisher told the crew.

Johnson made a nifty move on his first carry midway through the second quarter, gaining six. The ball was tossed to the sideline, put in an equipment box by the Titans. Late in the third quarterback, he caught a pass and tried to get away from two Seahawks, and he was tackled, and his leg twisted awkwardly.

"I don't remember too much.'' Johnson said. "But I looked down and my knee was facing coach Fish, and my foot toward the pylon. I figured I was in trouble.''

He broke his leg and dislocated his ankle. His first thought, he said, was "Why? Why now?'' But he said that by the end of the night, "I was thanking God that I was here. I went from being almost deceased to being in the NFL, playing in an NFL game.''

When the team gathered in the locker room, Fisher spoke. "Life's not fair sometimes,'' he said, and he went on to tell the players about the ball he had for Johnson, and he told his players to go into the trainers room and be with Johnson.

"We're not getting rid of him,'' said Fisher, though Johnson was waived injured, then placed on injured-reserved for the season. "He had very successful surgery, and he'll be back with us next year in camp. I expect him to have a good shot.''

That he should. He'll only have all of America rooting for him."


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