Former Penn State defensive tackle Ed Johnson had plenty of ups and downs while on campus, and now as a pro he's seen a bit of adversity as well. The third-year veteran from Detroit has been with two teams since finishing up in Happy Valley, and he's hoping he has turned the corner on and off the field.
Now with the Carolina Panthers, Johnson started six games in 2010 and played in 12 total. He finished with 27 tackles, two quarterback pressures and an interception. He will enter the 2011 season as a restricted free agent when the NFL Lockout is resolved.
We caught up with Johnson on campus today while playing basketball, and he was gracious enough to give us a few minutes. The following is a transcript of that interview.
Lions247.com: With the lockout in place, what are you up to now?
Ed Johnson: I had a daughter in February, so I've been trying to spend as much time as I can with her. I had a knee injury at the end of last year, so the lockout was good so I could get that healed almost fully without having any pressure. So I'm up here at school working out and training. I got up here in July, I wasn't able to really do anything until June. So I was laying low because of my injury at first and now I'm trying to get in the best shape as possible.
Lions247.com: You've gotten another chance with Carolina, how has the last year been for you overall?
Ed Johnson: Last year was a little rough, but now I am just grateful to have a job and be somewhere. It was a little rough with the situation and us not winning and stuff like that. It's something you have to make the best out of.
Lions247.com: You're up here, guys like Tamba Hali and Anthony Adams are up here as well. What have you guys been saying and doing together and why do you come back?
Ed Johnson: We all work out together every summer up here. This is just a normal routine for us. Me, Tamba, Spice, Jay Alford, Tony Hunt - there's always guys who are up here around and able to work out.
Lions247.com: Do you keep in touch with much of the staff up here?
Ed Johnson: Yeah, I talk to Coach Vanderlinden and Coach Johnson for the most part. We get in there with the D-Line a couple times a week and do drill work and footwork and stuff like that. We just try to give them as much as we can while we're here.
Lions247.com: When you look back at Penn State, you obviously had your ups and downs, but what do you think of when you look back at your time here?
Ed Johnson: It opened my eyes to a lot of things. It opened my eyes to a lot of outside things, to the real world. There were a lot of childish things, I had to grow up a lot. There were a lot of things that were just unlucky. Some things happen where I could honestly say I was innocent or it wasn't my fault, but that's just how life is sometimes. I think it helped me become a stronger person. It taught me that I could go through some things, I know God has my back and with him I'm straight. I don't have to worry about anything.
Lions247.com: Are you ready for this year?
Ed Johnson: Absolutely. With this extra time I'm just trying to get back as much as possible so I can help my team as much as I can. I've been pretty smart with my money, so I can just chill a little bit.