Oct. 28, 2013
By Matt Winkeljohn
Most of us might look at Calvin Johnson’s big day as further proof that he’s something other than human, but Taylor Bennett wasn’t surprised to see the former Georgia Tech wide receiver catch 14 passes for 329 yards and a touchdown on Sunday.
Johnson helped the Detroit Lions edge the Dallas Cowboys 31-30. As a three-year Tech (2004-’06) teammate of Johnson’s, Bennett – a former Yellow Jacket quarterback – saw similar absurdity on an almost daily basis.
In Bennett’s view point, there wasn’t much the Cowboys could have done to prevent the one-man siege.
“You don’t have to worry about covering for him [in game-planning and quarterback adjustments],” Bennett said. “If they shift defenses, he’s still going to be able to . . . he’s so big and strong that he’s able to not get re-routed, fight through press [coverage], go through his route, and be on time for the throw.”
Johnson is widely recognized as the NFL’s top wide receiver and if he keeps doing what he’s done since 2007, he might one day enter conversation as the greatest wideout the game has ever seen.
One of his teammates, Lions running back Reggie Bush, thinks that’s already happened.
“He’s the greatest football player, greatest receiver that I’ve ever played with . . . that I’ve ever seen before,” Bush told reporters. “I think that pretty much sums it up.”
Johnson, the 6-foot-5, 235-pound uber-athlete from Tyrone, Ga., set Tech career records with 2,927 receiving yards and 28 touchdowns and his 178 receptions – caught in just three seasons – stand No. 2 on that list.
Last season, he led the NFL with 122 receptions for an NFL-record 1,964 yards.
Presently, he leads the NFL with 47 catches and 821 yards despite missing a game because of injury.
Only former Rams receiver Flipper Anderson has ever put up more receiving yards in an NFL game, in 1989 when he went for 336.
Johnson, as always, tries to maintain a low profile.
“I’m just going out there doing my job,” he said.
That reaction did not surprise Bennett, either. He and Johnson were roommates at Tech, and remain very good friends. Johnson’s unique all the way around.
“He loves to draw, loves video games,” Bennett said. “You wouldn’t think he’d actually prefer to sit down and play FIFA and Call of Duty than buy a new car and go out and show off. He comes from an incredible family; great parents and two sisters who are doctors. That incredible family enables him to stay humble.”
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