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Michael Johnson: Out to Prove the League Wrong

By the time this posts, I will be in my 2nd of 3 finals for the day (out of 5 for the week). It's been a very long weekend I can tell you.

Lazy? Or simply misunderstood?

But enough about me. This is about Michael Johnson and the huge chip he had better have on his shoulder. Every report coming from the "experts" say he is lazy and doesn't work hard. Why do you think that is? Scouts and coaches have to rely on videotape which just can't show the whole truth. The locals know that MJ is an all-around athlete and we have all seen the way he plays and acts firsthand which makes it so hard for us to understand this "laziness". He has had difficulty defending the run and that apparently that portrays him as not working hard. Georgia Tech Nation has reacted to these notions of laziness in typical form: Meltdown Mode.

If laziness is the perception than so be it. It's unfortunate that the mages of him running off and on the field every time will never make the scouting film. However NFL/Cincinnati / Mel Kiper's really big and horribly looking on the lookout. Johnson knows you think he's lazy and he is out to prove you wrong. He knows you also think he has the potential to make a difference in the leage. In an interview with Coley Harvey at the Macon Telegraph, MJ responded to a question regarding his "laziness":

MJ: "I'm just ready to go out and prove any doubters wrong. I've never had anyone in my whole life question anything about me like that. It was all really foreign to me, and I really didn't even know what to think about it. I really don't think about it. I just want to go out and make plays and ball out, man. That's all I can do."

CH: "Knowing the role you took as a captain and a leader on GT's team last year, did that make it even more surprising to hear that criticism?"

MJ: "It does. It's very surprising. I really don't know what else to do about it except make plays, and then when I make it to the Pro Bowl, I can be like, 'Now what?'

Adding to the doubters is the Defensive Coordinator from Cincinnati himself, Mike Zimmer:

We took Michael Johnson, a defensive end from Georgia Tech. I went to his pro day workout, and we actually met with him in Mobile (at the Senior Bowl). He drove over and visited with coach Lewis and myself. This kid is a tremendous, tremendous athlete. He doesn’t play hard all the time. That’s our job to make sure that he does that. But he is a tremendous athlete. He is 6-7, 267 pounds, he runs 4.5 (second 40-yard dash), has a 40-inch vertical jump and had eight sacks last year. A lot of people are looking at him as an outside linebacker. He bends his knees exceptionally well. Like I told the guys up in the draft room yesterday, when we talk about this kid and you watch him on tape, there are some plays that you say ‘Oh wow, I can’t believe he did that.’ Then some of the other plays, you say, ‘Oh heck, he didn’t do very good there.’ But he does have a little bit of a wow factor in some of his measurables and some of his plays on tape. He just doesn’t have it enough.

They EXPECT Johnson to have that "wow" factor every single play.

But they also know that MJ is out to prove the world wrong. And Cincinnati welcomes this attitude. They need that fire.

Q: In terms of the inconsistency, how do you hold him accountable for that?
He became perturbed (when asked), which was good. Sometimes when we are interviewing guys and trying to get to know them, we are trying to see what buttons make them go. When we said, ‘This is what they are saying about you,’ he said, ‘I am going to prove them wrong.’ Actually, when I talked to him on the phone upstairs, I told him now is the time to go prove a whole bunch of people wrong.

Bengals fans seem pretty excited to have MJ.

It's very interesting to see how the outside world sees Michael Johnson. While on the opposite side of the spectrum, everyone at Tech has the gold-colored glasses and absolutely knows that our boys can do no wrong. Give MJ a few years and we will be hearing his name a lot on Sunday.