(1) For people that aren’t familiar with you, who is William Johnson?
- “Who is Will Johnson: Follower of Christ, Husband, Father, Son, Brother, and Friend.”
(2) As a kid growing up I knew you were a special talent and that you would make it far, but when did you know making it to the NFL was attainable?
- “I knew making to the NFL was possible from the moment I was introduced to the sport. Ive always been super competitive at everything, and from a young age I knew this was the career path I wanted to pursue. Coming where were from in Dayton, OH a lot of people make excuses for their outcome, i.e. product of their environment. I was fortunate enough to have a strong circle of family and friends who supported what I wanted to do with my life, paired with a strong work ethic and commitment I was given every opportunity I needed to succeed.”
(3) What were your feelings being picked up by the Pittsburgh Steelers to begin your rookie campaign?
- “Being Signed by the Steelers was truly a blessing for myself and my family. Im a big believer of God putting us through situations to mold us and see how we respond when were face to face with adversity. Im the perfect example of if you stay the course and trust the process, believe and keep faith, God will continue to bless you because no one can take away from you what he has planned for your life but you. To fully understand where I’m coming from you have to know my back story and how the odds were stacked against me. See, I was never suppose to make it to the NFL if you look on paper, I believe I finished my college career with like 15 total catches 3 TD’s just off the top of my head. I was a follower of christ but I wasn’t committed to a personal relationship with God. It wasn’t until I was working some different jobs the year after i finished school that I realized this wasn’t my purpose in life and that I had much more to offer. When you learn the power of your WHY things start to make sense, its not always about you. From that point I made it my duty to serve God in every area of my life, and you wouldn’t believe the doors he started to open for me and blessings that poured into my life. Signing with Pittsburgh Steelers was a result of my commitment to having a personal relationship with God, which had a positive effect on every area of my life. From this point on I was complete.”
(4) Now with the New York Giants, you have played for two historic programs. Does it seems like it’s a dream?
- “Everyday I had to pinch myself because the feeling was so surreal. I had the opportunity to play for two historic franchises that host many HOF and future HOF’s. Its not everyday someone can stay they caught passes from two super bowl winning Qb’s Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning, crazy right! But the relationships me and family have made over the course of a 5 year career are priceless and will last a lifetime.”
(5) Being in the NFL how much work goes into preparing your body for the season?
- “For me, I took great pride in my offseason training, probably one of my favorite times of the year (besides the playoffs of course.) Ive always been very passionate about the behind the scenes process of what it takes to succeed at the professional level. My goal was simple going into training, that I would be the hardest working player in the NFL, and I feel if you don’t think that way, your in the wrong sport or your not setting yourself up to succeed. Its a long process, and a lot of people especially now use the word not knowing the true meaning. One of my favorite motivational speakers “Inky Johnson” made the quote, “It’s not about the product It’s the process!” he goes on to say “Regardless of the outcome, the process or journey will be rewarding in teaching you new things you never knew about yourself. Life is truly a journey.” For me the process is not only physical, but mental and spiritual as well. I wanted to show up to training camp prepared for the season to give everyone the best me possible.”
(6) How much of your childhood played a significant part of your success?
- “My childhood played a significant part in the man I am today. Its where I developed the the work ethic and effort needed to accomplish the goals I wanted to attain.”
(7) Where does your motivation come from?
- “My motivation comes from past experiences and being afraid to fail or let those closest to me down. When I get up every morning I have a purpose, and goals. I love what I do, but there has to be a reason for my drive and will to keeping moving forward and progressing not regressing. I fear seeking comfort, I never want to be complacent or happy just being where I am. I’m always look to grow and be well rounded, I think thats where that purpose and knowing your why comes into play. Its not easy, you have to be built for it, thats why everyone cant be on the same level. Its those experiences from my childhood that you already know about because we grew up in the same neighborhood that makes us the men we are today ready to show perseverance at whatever comes our way.”
(8) With everything thats going on in the NFL socially, how do you stay focused in doing your job and performing at a high level?
- “Playing in any professional league comes with a lot for a young man to deal with at an fairly early age. There will always be distractions of all sorts and you live under a microscope so to speak where everything you do and say will be made public both good and bad. The key to staying focused I found is to hold yourself to a high standard and to hold yourself accountable. Football is something I’ve been playing my entire life, but the brand you build for yourself is just as important. When my kids and family look back or google my name I want them to be proud of our family name and know that I made an impact not only on the field but off as well.”
(9) Being in the position as a member of the New York Giants, how do you stay humble?
- “So I suffered a season ending injury last season in my first pre-season game with Giants. I didn’t think much of the injury as I’ve never missed any significant time in my career due to injury. I had no idea that same injury would possibly end up being career ending. I injured a nerve in my neck that directly effected my shoulder and never quite healed and I was released by the giants this past offseason as a result. No biggie! I’ll heal up and come back stronger somewhere else. I’ve since had physicals with the Jets twice now, falcons, and saints all resulting in the same answer, “We can’t clear you to play.” Just when I thought I was at the top of my game it felt as if I would never play another down again. Brings me back to the point I made earlier, knowing your purpose and your Why. Everything happens for a reason I believe, rather I play again or not there is a reason I’m going though what I’m going through. I see the bigger picture of my life and its not just football. My plan is to go back to school to receive my Masters in Sports Management and eventually open my own sports performance training facility to impact youth and those looking to take their game to the next level. I’ll continue working out and staying ready so I don’t have to get ready if a team called, its a lifestyle for me. But most importantly being healthy is my #1 priority.”
(10) For any kid that dreams of making it to the pro’s what message would you give them?
- “If I could give a message to kids who have dreams and aspirations of one day playing professional sports, I would stress the importance of education and acquiring the skill of listening. Nothing comes before school. Make making good grades a habit, I don’t care how good you are on the field or court, you wont make it very far if you don’t have the grades to match. No matter what you do in this lifetime you’ll always have an education to fall back on because playing sports isn’t forever.”