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Bethel Johnson Conf. Call Transcript 04/26/2003

Johnson on being drafted to the Pats: I really was excited to end up there and it was just truly a blessing.



Q: Give us your thoughts on being drafted by the Patriots?

BJ: It is truly a blessing because you work so hard for something your whole life and it finally comes true. I really was excited to end up there and it was just truly a blessing.

Q: Was this a team that had shown interest in you or did this surprise you?

BJ: They showed some interest in me. They brought me in and I talked to the coaches and I really enjoyed myself there and had a good time. I really enjoyed it up there.

Q: Was this the only place you came out to?

BJ: No, I went to Arizona and San Francisco and Atlanta.

Q: Were you were surprised at where you were selected? Did you expect to go this high?

BJ: One of my coaches told me to expect the worst, that is kind of what I have been doing. I was surprised at the position I was taken in. It was very surprising.

Q: Coach Belichick had a lot of positive things to say about you as an athlete, but some of the publications had some negatives in there that were quite strong. Are you familiar with what was said and read and can you address that?

BJ: I've heard some of that, but I don't pay attention to that. Coach told us a long time ago, "Garbage in, garbage out." I don't pay attention to what people say about me because it is not the people who write things about me who are going to draft me. It is what the coaches say about me that will get me drafted.

Q: What do you think is the biggest thing you need to improve on?

BJ: I would have to say having a little more concentration on easy catches. I tend to make hard plays, when you've got the ball coming to you and you see all of the grass ahead of you, you kind of turn your head a little early. I need to work on my concentration a little bit.

Q: You said you were surprised? Pleasantly surprised?

BJ: I kind of knew I would go sooner or later, but I was surprised that it was a team that had interest in me and I had interest in them. That made it a surprise for me.

Q: What attracted you to them?

BJ: When I visited there, it was about synergy. It wasn't that they had one guy that they rely on to win the game. We win as a group and what attracted me the most is all the veterans there working out when I came in to visit. Most teams don't do that, they have guys that have their own personal trainers. They're more about team than individuals.

Q: The Patriots took Deion Branch last year in the second round. Is your receiving style similar to his?

BJ: I am very familiar with him and I don't think we have the same receiving style. He is a very good athlete and a very good receiver. We both bring two different things to the table.

Q: What is the difference between what you bring and what he [Branch] brings?

BJ: He brings a lot of good assets, he is a great receiver. I'm just trying to learn from him and just take it how he did when he got there. He has things that I don't have, but I really don't know what they are right now. But I am hoping to learn from him when I get there.

Q: When you came to visit New England did the coaches tell you that they wanted you to return kicks and punts?

BJ: Yes, they said that I would get on special teams. Since I was a returner, I played on special teams, I feel comfortable with them telling me to play on kickoff or kickoff return. You've got to come in and find a role, whatever it may be.

Q: Give us an accurate description of what kind of receiver you are?

BJ: I really don't like talking about myself. I know you have heard a lot of negative things about me. I tend to make big plays. I have a natural knack for that, to make big plays. I have a lot of people relying on me to make a play. I'm not only a receiver, but I'm a returner. I bring versatility to the table because I can do both.

Q: Where are you most comfortable on the field?

BJ: They had me playing the X receiver in college. And I played the Z sometimes, but I mostly played X. And I feel comfortable playing X because I played it the whole time in college. They moved me around a bit my senior year, but I was real comfortable out there.

Q: The Patriots seem to need a big receiver, one who can make catches over the middle and stretch the field. Do you think you can be that guy?

BJ: I am pretty sure that I can develop into that. I have been over the middle and taken shots over the middle in college. The league is a different level, I am not afraid of it, because you've got to come in and do what they pay you for.

Q: They're really looking for someone who can stretch the field. Do you think that is something you can provide?

BJ: I am pretty sure, I feel that is what they are looking for and I feel like I can provide that. We just have to see what they want to do with me. I have to come in and learn from the vets and take in what they teach me and just learn my role and play my position well, wherever they put me.

Q: Your production increased significantly between 2000 and last season, what would you attribute that to?

BJ: God is good… He kept me out last year to see the game from a different perspective and I saw that I was taking my talent for granted. You know, you're not going out there doing everything I could. You need to go out and work hard and play hard because if you work hard, playing hard should be easy.

Q: What kept you out, was it an injury?

BJ: I had an injury last year.

Q: What type of injury was it and how long were you out?

BJ: I missed 10 games last year. It was a splenectomy injury.

Q: Was there any concern on your part that your spleen injury might be a long-term negative that might keep you off the field for a while?

BJ: At first it was a negative and people thought it would keep me out for a while. But I was totally cleared to play at Texas A&M. I was checked out and I checked out well. It is not a problem.

Q: Can you give us a quick scouting report on Ty Warren?

BJ: He is an aggressive player, big guy. Very tough and he is a hard worker. I watched him come in as a freshman and take care of business. He's hungry and when he's hungry he is really unstoppable.

Q: Did you have a lot of opportunities to go deep in college?

BJ: Yes I did get a lot of chances to outrun guys. The thing is when my coach called to run a streak or something I ran a slant. We got one deep ball to me this year.

Q: Did you have a chance to talk to the receivers when you were here?

BJ: I spoke with Deion Branch. He shook my hand and told me some words of encouragement; to stay focused and not to worry about things I can't control; just a little advice.

Q: Did you talk with Ty Warren today?

BJ: No, I haven't been home yet; back to College Station. I'm going to be back on my way shortly and I'll probably talk to him later on.

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