Let’s go back a year. I wasn’t on any professional sports radar in the world. No defensive backs were worried about getting “crossed up”. I was at the time, the sixth option on the team. So I actually still had to prove myself to the University of Kentucky coaching staff. It was like this until one summer practice, my teammate Dicky Lyons Jr. told me to go talk to the coaches, because he says, “you need to be playing.”
Flash forward, April (Draft Month) now I’m in Bayview Hunters Point – San Francisco on the couch with my wife and daughter watching the draft, as a two time Music City Bowl champ and maybe 1 or 2 professional teams know about me.
As we watched all the homies get drafted, I sent congratulatory messages and waited for my turn – if that would come. Four rounds go by, 5, 6 rounds go by and nothing. So at this point we are deep in the 7th round, by this time I’m preparing my mind to make noise as an undrafted free agent. I didn’t think it was a sign I wasn’t good enough, I figured I just had to show them what’s up – when I could; if I could.
Finally, pick 222 came, then 223, and then I received a phone call from a 716 number. “Where is 716?” I answer, and it’s Coach Bobby April (Special Teams Coach). I went from be mentally & physically exhausted that day to ready to take on the entire world. He said a few things, and I just replied, I’m ready for whatever. He said, take a look at the TV, and there it was- Steven Johnson 7th around 224 Buffalo Bills LB. Yes, you’ve read that correctly, and No, I didn’t mind that they displayed another Steven Johnson, who was a linebacker in college. All I knew was, they called me so it must be me.
We all took pics, went to go get hats, took some images on the block with fam, friends, and former coaches Jack and Candi, they put me on the phone with Money Lynch, who’s a Bay Area Legend, he just said “Do yo thang bra.” We hung up and most everyone basically said, where’s Buffalo exactly? They say it’s freezing out there and etc. I wasn’t really focused on the conversation they were having, all I was thinking is – I have to handle biz, if I don’t want to have to want and not get anymore for me and my fam; this is the opportunity.