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For once, Stevie's not talking

By Jerry Sullivan

Stevie Johnson was a no-show in the Bills' locker room this morning. That makes twice in a row. Johnson bolted the dressing room immediately after the Bills' 23-21 season-opening loss to the Patriots on Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium. In Aaron Schobel-like fashion, Johnson barely took time to towel off before heading out the tunnel and off to his own private universe.

It's surprising, to say the least. Johnson is seldom at a loss for words. He thrives on the give-and-take with the media. And of course, he had plenty to see in the days leading up to the New England game. Stevie said there was no one on the Patriots who could cover him.

Johnson had three catches for 39 yards against the Pats. He caught an 18-yard TD pass from rookie EJ Manuel on the opening drive of the second  half. But he had a critical dropped pass on third-and-1 at the Bills' 49 with 8:54 to play. On a replay, you can see head coach Doug Marrone grabbing his head in despair after seeing the ball hit Johnson's hands and fall incomplete.

Over his career, Johnson has made some infamous drops. He dropped a touchdown pass that would have beaten the Steelers in overtime -- and tweeted his displeasure to God later. He dropped a big pass late in a loss at the Jets, and passed some of the blame off the Ryan Fitzpatrick afterward.

But he stood at his locker and faced the music after those gaffes -- and after his two celebration penalties two years ago. This is the first time he has ducked the media. Maybe he didn't want to face questions about his assertion that no Pats could cover him. I'm sure he'll come up with some explanation by Wednesday.

It's pretty weak, though. This was the year, remember, when Johnson was going to be a mentor to the team's young receivers, a leader. I don't think it sends a good message to the rookies when you run your mouth before a game, only to hide when things go wrong on the field.

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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 | tgraham@buffnews.com


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 | mgaughan@buffnews.com


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 | jskurski@buffnews.com

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