Quick-hit thoughts and notes on the New England Patriots and NFL:
1. With one answer on the fastest kickoff returner he’s coached in 43 NFL seasons, Bill Belichick sparked some memories this past week, and also a question: Whatever happened to Bethel Johnson?
Now 39, Johnson was flattered to be the source of some Patriots social-media buzz from the NFL’s annual meeting in Orlando, Florida, where Belichick was talking about newly acquired Cordarrelle Patterson as a return threat, and made it clear that nobody has ever been faster than Johnson (and those who played the Madden video game in 2005 certainly agree).
It didn’t take long for word to get to Johnson, who has settled in his native Texas, is married with two kids (ages 7 and 4), and works as a financial adviser.
“I got into this about three years ago, because I wanted to help our guys in this industry to stop going broke and help guys understand how money works,” Johnson told cheap nfl jerseys from china in a phone interview. “I look at it as, ‘These guys are my brothers.’ Whether they played before me, or after me, we’re all in the same fraternity. The last thing you want to read is that a player’s money was mismanaged by someone who took advantage of them. I understand what players go through, because I was one of those guys, but I was different in how I saw money. I wasn’t a big spender.”
When Johnson was selected by the Patriots in the second round of the 2003 draft, he received a $1.75 million signing bonus as part of a five-year, $3.8 million contract.
With the assistance of a trusted adviser, Johnson said he planned for his retirement “from Day 1” of his professional career and that upon his retirement in 2008, after a short stint with the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts, he was “taken care of.”
“I got my signing bonus and said, ‘Listen, I may never see this money again, so I want this to last me the rest of my life. What I don’t want to do is go back to being broke,’” he said. “That was the game plan.”
Meanwhile, the Patriots’ game plan in drafting Johnson in ’03 was to add blazing speed to their skill-position group and on special teams, and Johnson — who had starred in track and field and football at Texas A&M — was part of two Super Bowl championship teams, although he never emerged as a top-flight pass-catcher. The team traded him after three seasons.
“Belichick actually taught me how to play wide receiver,”nfl jerseys cheap china said Johnson, who was a raw prospect with the unique trait of top-end speed. “Being able to learn from a guy like that, and being part of winning those first two years I was there, that was a fun experience.”