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Lonnie Johnson Jr. nearly quit playing football.
08-14-2019, 05:26 AM,
Post: #1
Lonnie Johnson Jr. nearly quit playing football.
The Indiana native was bouncing around the junior college ranks and having trouble making the jump up to the next level.“I almost gave it up at one point in junior college because I kept getting knocked down every step I tried to take http://www.broncosauthorizedshops.com/au...ner-jersey ,” Johnson said. “Just stuck with it, ended up qualifying through school and got to Kentucky and ended up doing the right thing.”The work paid off after two years at Kentucky: Johnson was taken by the Houston Texans in the second round of the NFL draft Friday night at No 54 overall.“It just shows that I work hard,” Johnson said. “Everything that it took to get here, everything I’ve been through, I’m lost for words right now.”Johnson started 18 games for the Wildcats after a series of twists and turns. Originally, he committed to Ohio State but did not qualify academically. In 2014, Johnson played at San Bernardino Valley Community College before spending the next two years at Garden City Community College. His final two seasons were spent at Kentucky, where he had 64 tackles with 12 pass breakups.“He was just a really impressive guy,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said. “The way he could talk about his life, the way he could talk about football and then obviously, his skill set on the field. So, I think the more our organization got to know him we felt like he’d be a great fit.”This is the third straight season the Texans have addressed the cornerback position in the draft. Johnson will try and fill the voids left in the secondary with the exits of Tyrann Mathieu, who signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, and Kareem Jackson, who signed with the Denver Broncos.The Texans also used two of their top three picks to shore up their porous offensive line and get Deshaun Watson some protection: Northern Illinois’ Max Scharping (No. 55 overall) and first-rounder Tytus Howard of Alabama State will be asked to help protect the oft-banged up quarterback.“I know he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league,” Scharping said. “He’s a great person to be able to protect for. He’s athletic, he can move throughout the pocket and he’s got a great arm. I can’t wait to be one of the guys protecting him.”Watson was sacked an NFL-leading 62 times as Houston won the AFC South last season.Howard was a quarterback in high school before growing into his 6-foot-5 Drew Lock Jersey , 322-pound frame while Scharping is a 6-foot-6, 327-pound tackle who started in 53 consecutive games for the Huskies.Scharping, who is a native of Green Bay, will get to head to his hometown next season when the Texans and Packers participate in a joint practice prior to their preseason opener. Scharping is also now teammates with fellow Wisconsin native J.J. Watt, who he watched growing up when he played at Wisconsin.“It’s going to be amazing being on the same team,” Scharping said. “You’re going against the best defensive line in the country, really. You’ve got him; you’ve got Clowney. So, blocking those guys in practice every day, you’re going to be going up against the best.”The Texans finished the night picking San Diego State tight end Kahale Warring (No. 86 overall). He started playing football in his senior year of high school.“Meets our prototypical standards, everything we look for,” Texans general manager Brian Gaine said. “From the physical skillset and ending the with character and football skillset. Ton of upside here, a youthful player as it relates to his football experience but a ton of upside.”In high school, Warring played multiple sports, including water polo and basketball, which he said helped him transition to football.The 6-foot-5, 252-pound tight end was always curious about playing football and never thought about getting drafted into the NFL when he made the choice.“No, I was just enjoying the game of football falling in love with it day by day http://www.broncosauthorizedshops.com/au...nes-jersey ,” Warring said. “I was just having fun with my friends.”The Texans will finish off the draft with three picks in the final four rounds on Saturday. Houston will have a single pick in the fifth (161st overall), sixth (195th overall) and seventh round (220th overall).“We’re going to honor the board,” Gaine said. “We’re going to honor the process. It’s the best available player that makes the most sense in the moment and at that time.”__ PITTSBURGH — On the surface they’re identical. Below the surface too. Large. Loud. Remarkably athletic and remarkably close. Well compensated and well tattooed.Still, Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey believes there is one surefire way to tell him and Los Angeles Chargers center (and very slightly older brother) Mike apart on Sunday night when the Chargers visit Heinz Field.More Badgers coverageTop Tweets: Former Badger TJ Watt has impressive four-year transformationTop Tweets: Former Badgers QB Wilson plans to play for … a long timeBadgers RB Taylor named to preseason all-Big Ten teamEx-Badgers TE Traylor training, waiting for next NFL opportunityEx-Badgers star Hayes having fun during latest NBA auditionJust have the twins switch places at halftime and let Maurkice snap the ball to Los Angeles quarterback Philip Rivers for a quarter or two. Then the differences between the Pounceys will be unmistakable.“I’ll take that team to the next level baby,” Maurkice Pouncey said, voice dripping with sarcasm. “They’ll definitely notice.”Maurkice is kidding. Mostly, though he does have a slight edge over Mike in Pro Bowl selections (six to three). The 29-year-olds are well aware of the unique opportunity playing against each other offers. Separated by a minute at birth, the Pounceys were virtually inseparable growing up until Maurkice left the University of Florida for the NFL in 2010.They’ve spent their professional lives rooting for each other from afar — Sunday is only the fifth time they’ll be together in the same NFL stadium — and both feared Mike’s career might be in jeopardy after a hip injury limited him to five games with the Miami Dolphins in 2016.“It was a point that we both thought that and it was tough,” Maurkice said. “Lord willing, a lot of hard work, and the doctors did a great job. Obviously he’s playing at a high level and he’s been blessed to be out there.”Mike returned to play a full 16 games last season, but found himself looking for work after the Dolphins cut him in a salary cap move in March. The Chargers sprinted to scoop him up, bringing him to the West Coast on a two-year, $15 million deal just four days after getting released. The change of scenery provided Mike Pouncey with a mid-career jolt, and his presence has played a significant role in the Chargers’ hot 8-3 start.“We knew it was a big signing when we signed him,” Los Angeles coach Anthony Lynn said. “But it’s even better than what I thought.”Asked what the Mike Pouncey experience is like T.J. Hockenson Jersey , Lynn laughed.“I’m pretty sure it’s similar to what you guys have in Pittsburgh,” he said.Translation: a lot of jokes. A lot of trash talk. And a relentless work ethic that belies their copious amounts of swagger.“He’s the same player as me,” Mike Pouncey said. “He’s going to go out there and give you everything he has on each play. (My teammates) more excited (than I am) because we have a real good friendship on this team, and they go out there and talk smack to my brother to make me feel a little bit better. It’s going to be fun.”The entire Pouncey clan will descend on Maurkice’s house in the Pittsburgh suburbs on Saturday. As for split allegiances, Maurkice’s offer to host came with one very simple directive: If you root for the Steelers, you can crash at his place. If not? You’re on your own.How tight are they? Maurkice admits Mike might be the only person in the world outside of his children he actually calls on the phone rather than just texting.It’s the same for Derek and T.J. Watt, though the two brothers — T.J. is a second-year linebacker for the Steelers, Derek is in his third season as a fullback for the Chargers — won’t have the luxury of standing on the sideline watching the other play like the Pounceys do.There’s a very real chance that T.J. and Derek will find themselves on a collision course sometime Sunday night, the first time that’s ever happened somewhere other than the family backyard or the random University of Wisconsin football practice when both were playing for the Badgers.Not that T.J. believes there’s going to be time to think about bragging rights. If his assignment on a play is to ram into the guy wearing No. 34, then that’s what he’s going to do.“It’s a football game to me,” T.J. said. “I don’t think anything is going to really change. I don’t think in that split second you can determine who’s who and what’s what, so whatever happens, happens.”Older brother J.J., the star defensive end for the Houston Texans, hopes they are forced to ram into each other at least once so “we can settle it once and for all.” Provided, of course, there’s no cheating on either side.“I basically just said Zach Brown Jersey , no cut-blocks,” J.J. said. “That’s the only thing. Just don’t go at his knees. Otherwise, everything’s fair.”Though Derek, 26, lacks the star power of his older or his younger brother — both of whom were first-round picks while the Chargers selected Derek in the sixth round in 2016 — T.J., 24, might know better than anyone on the planet that you overlook the middle Watt brother at your own risk.“He may not get all the publicity that J.J. and I get, but Derek’s been in the NFL, this is his third year,” T.J. said. “I don’t see many people in America doing that. I don’t see many people in the world doing that. He’s playing at the highest level. He’s a starting fullback for an NFL team; I think that’s pretty damn cool.”Connie and John Watt will watch their boys go at it from the stands, trying to stay as neutral as possible. They might want to get used to it. All three Watt brothers are on teams heading to the postseason, meaning more family showdowns loom.“I hope the game, I don’t know, I guess ends in a tie,” J.J. Watt said. “I guess that’s probably the best thing for everybody. It’s probably good for (the Texans) too.”
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