Calvin Johnson and his roots 


What can I say about Calvin Johnson that you don’t already know? I’ll tell you in the last paragraph. First I want to introduce you to his parents, Calvin and Arica Johnson from Tyrone, Georgia. Calvin Sr. works as a conductor on freight trains. Arica works in the Atlanta Public Schools model teacher program. 


Immediately after Calvin Johnson had his press conference and the media swarmed around him for a quote, the media then swarmed around his parents. They took it well. They didn’t seem scared or intimidated.  They certainly weren’t wallflowers. 


The first question went to mom. It was (I’m paraphrasing here), “How special do you feel and how special does Calvin feel after getting selected number 2 in the NFL draft?” Without hesitation mom said, “Special? Calvin doesn’t feel special because of football. He feels special because he knows Christ is his savior. He knows what is really important. Football is just a game.” (The reporters start back pedaling here and try to change tactics.) Next question, “Well then, how does it feel to have your son hit the lottery?” Mom replied, “My son didn’t hit the lottery. The lottery is all about luck. My son earned his spot in the draft with hard work. The same way he will earn his spot on the team.” 


The next question went to dad. “Will you be able to attend all of Calvin’s football games?” The short answer to this was that he would try but it would be a little difficult and a little expensive getting his wife and children up every game. Another reporter said not to worry, “Your son could help with the costs.” … 


Here was my favorite moment on draft day Sunday. Dad, who is worn down, obviously tired, shoulders slumping a little, fatigue on his face. And a reporter says the wrong thing – “Your son could help with the costs.” All at once Dad straightens up, a little fire comes into his eyes and he says, “I take care of my family. It’s not Calvin’s job to pay for us. That is my job!” 


I love this guy. I love his wife. Two people who raised their son right and don’t plan on making any changes just because one day their son got rich and famous. 


Now, as promised, I can tell you something that you might not know about Calvin Johnson. He is one quiet and humble kid. His demeanor throughout the press conference was absolute humility, even when he spoke of how hard he was going to work to be in shape for football – it was for the team, not for Calvin. I don’t see Calvin becoming a Randy Moss or a T.O.  What he might do, however, is become another Barry Sanders. 


PS: Advice for Calvin from a (hopefully) good Catholic boy. Keep Christ as the focus of your life and you will be happy. If you let money or fame or friends become your focus, life can get ugly in a hurry.