Let me ask you a question… Could you go to work less than 24 hours after receiving a phone call that your mother had passed away? Do you know who did just that Sunday afternoon? Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson, who started for the Bills Sunday afternoon on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Johnson learned Saturday night that had unexpectedly passed away. The problem for the Bills top receiver… He was already in Jacksonville preparing for Sunday’s game.
“When I found out I was already here,” said Johnson after Sunday’s win, according to buffalobills.com. “I talked to coach and he gave me an option and I felt like I went all week with the boys and whatever I can do to help out the team, I think I should give it my all no matter what. It was tough, but we got the win and I’m happy about that and I’m sure she is happy about that.”
The only people who knew the troubles Johnson was facing off the field prior to the game were Coach Doug Marrone and Bills defensive back Ron Brooks; both were present when the receiver learned of the unsettling news. Distraught, Stevie decided to play and help his team earn their fifth victory of the season.
In the box score, Johnson’s efforts Sunday won’t be recognized for much, only registering one reception for four yards, but in the locker room, the Kentucky alum received the recognition he greatly deserved.
“I think it was just him not wanting to be a distraction to the team or have anybody feel bad for him,” said Bills rookie quarterback EJ Manuel, according to buffalobills.com. “He just wanted us to go out here and get this win and thank God we did for him and his mother and his family.”
Putting all of the prior criticism from fans and media aside, it is clear that Johnson’s teammates have his back, which is most important.
“It says a lot about Stevie. Stevie is a guy that we all look up to, especially us rookies on offense,” said Manuel. “Stevie is a cool guy for us. He makes a lot of plays for us. He makes huge plays and he’s a difference maker in our offense. To find that out… I didn’t know. I’m just sorry to hear that.”
Johnson is an athlete I had the pleasure to interview while working on a story for BuddyNixon.com, and it is clear, Johnson is all in for his team and puts his body on the line week in and week out. This week was no different. (Here is the link to my story with Johnson.)
Stevie, all of us from MeetTheMatts.com has you and your family in our thoughts and prayers during this tough time.