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Stevie Johnson claims workout comments 'way overblown'

By Tim Graham

Buffalo Bills receiver Stevie Johnson was bewildered to learn remarks he made on Jim Rome's radio show before the Super Bowl created such waves in Western New York.

"I didn't hear from nobody about it except for C.J. Spiller, who told me, 'They're blowing up back in Buffalo about the workout comments,' " Johnson said. "I went, 'What workout comments?' "

Johnson said he was -- and still is -- taken aback to know folks were upset about his training methods.

Johnson told Rome that he disregarded the Bills' offseason program and that his offseason conditioning regimen has consisted of playing basketball and roadwork in his hometown.

"This year we've got a new staff, and you know, I've had three seasons with a thousand yards, and that's like without doing, like, real football work," Johnson said in a transcript of the Rome interview posted by "So you know, who knows what happens if I really put in work?

"Maybe I can eclipse a thousand and go into twelve hundred, you know, maybe thirteen. Maybe I'll be even more energized to finish out games, and we'll get things done, you know? So I'm going to be working hard from next Sunday to April 1st when we go back."

Johnson's remarks became a hot topic on radio shows and message boards.

Asked on Friday about the reaction, Johnson still sounded like he was staggered by it.

"I thought it was way overblown," Johnson said. "I didn't expect to hear anything about it. From fans and people I've talked to for two or three years on a weekly basis, I didn't expect I would hear what I did.

"They've seen 13 on the field for three years straight. Have you seen me giving plays up? Have you seen me not working hard? Have you seen me get a little cramp and say, 'I can't go. I'm going to sit out because I want to protect my situation and get paid?'

"Hell, no. You've seen me out there, playing every Sunday. I ain't missed a game or nothing. I have a willingness to play different roles."

Johnson has made 237 receptions for 3,123 yards and 23 touchdowns the past three seasons.

He's known as one of the NFL's most unorthodox route-runners, a style that has helped him give some of the best cornerbacks in the league fits. He claimed that footwork is from the basketball court.

"All my moves and how I get open is from basketball," Johnson said. "And they get mad at that?

"Everybody knows my workouts include a lot of basketball for my cardio. I'm going to run around in my community. I know my body. I've been doing this for years. All I said was, 'We got a new coaching staff coming in, and I got a new contract, and I'm not a kid anymore. I'm a leader now. So I'm going to go to L.A. and work out and see what happens.'

"People were acting like I didn't give a crap about my profession. It's evident that I do care from watching the games and seeing my productivity."

Bills center Eric Wood, in response to a follower's Twitter question about Johnson's comments, wrote Johnson "is a beast. He works hard enough for me."

Wood hasn't been afraid to call out teammates in the past for not earning their money. Although Wood probably didn't realize what he yelled about Aaron Maybin was within earshot of reporters. Still, Wood didn't have to respond to the Twitter question if he didn't want to.

"How I said it may have offended some people, but they don't know the work I put in," Johnson said. "Let them come out and work out with me -- even doing just the hoops workouts and running around the community -- and see if they can keep up. Then we'll talk about me not doing enough.

"What I've been doing has led me to 1,000 yards. But it's OK. I'll win them over again."


Aaron Maybin | C.J. Spiller | Eric Wood | Stevie Johnson
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |