BARRY SANDERS NEWS
Kerryon Johnson had an instant way of making several members of his new fan base feel much older than they are.
On the night he was drafted as the newest second-round draft selection by the Detroit Lions, Auburn's leading rusher from last season was asked about being in the same position as arguably the franchise’s best player ever — Barry Sanders.
Johnson, the 2017 Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press, was selected with the 43rd overall pick and is hoping to revive a rushing attack that was last in the NFL last season. However, Johnson had to answer the question of somebody who was born in 1997 — one year before Sanders announced his retirement from football.
“I wish I was alive during that time to really get to watch him in person,” Johnson said.
Kerryon Johnson on watching highlights of former Detroit Lions great Barry Sanders.
Sanders, a 10-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year who led the league in rushing yards four times, was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004 — when Johnson was just 7 years old.
“When you watch highlights of Barry Sanders, what’s not to like? I mean, he’s a fantastic running back, a fantastic guy,” Johnson said of highlights he’s seen of Sanders on YouTube and various NFL highlight platforms. “He was extremely exciting to watch, extremely hard to tackle. I mean, it was a pleasure.”
Johnson will likely get an opportunity to start in the same situation that Sanders had in 1989 when he was drafted to increase productivity of a running game that was last in offense and 27th of 28 teams in professional football. In his first season, Sanders finished second in the NFL in rushing with 1,470 yards in route to winning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
When Johnson arrives for preseason training camp, he’ll be battling veteran LeGarrette Blount for the majority of carries.
“I’m happy to be a piece of anybody’s puzzle. I’m ready to come in and work,” Johnson said. “That’s what I feel like this organization loves to do is work. That’s what everybody knows Detroit for, being a hardworking city and I’m looking forward to stepping in that and doing the same.”
Source: Montgomery Advertiser | Matthew Stevens | May 1, 2018