Our On The Fringe tailback, rookie Ian Johnson, got his career off to a strong start in Minnesota’s 13-3, preseason-opening victory Friday at Indianapolis. Johnson finished with 50 yards on nine carries and had a catch for nine yards. Johnson told us what the experience was like in an email Sunday:
“What can I say? My first NFL game was amazing. The feeling of walking into the locker room and seeing my jersey in my locker with a big JOHNSON on the back was better than I could have imagined. I normally try to leave emotions out of my game and just go do my job, but that day was different. After seeing my jersey, I knew I had to go out there and show my love for this game through my play. I didn’t and still don’t know how many games I will be blessed to play at this level, and I feel like I have to play every game with everything I have.
“From the moment I walked on that field in Indianapolis, I started playing how I thought my first NFL play would go in my head. I didn’t know when it would come or if it would even be a run play, but I was pumped. In the second quarter, when my number was called, everything slowed down. It just felt like all of the things that I had worked so hard on during camp were now second nature. Six yards or so later I felt like I belonged. That feeling is one of the reasons why I love this game so much.
“The fourth quarter ended up being my quarter. I didn’t do everything perfect, but I did everything with all my heart. I’ve always believed that if I do everything, with all I have, I’ll never have any regrets, and I have no regrets from that night. The only thing that could have made that night anymore perfect would have been having my wife there. Even though she wasn’t there, I knew she was watching, and I knew she would be proud — and that, her being proud of me, there’s no greater treasure to me.
“So to put it a little shorter, my first game was amazing.”