Cleveland Browns running back and Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier don’t really know one another off the football field. Sure, the two have squared up in the hold on more than one occasion, but the two didn’t attend college together, or train in the offseason, yet Johnson has taken it upon himself to send prayers and positive thoughts towards the injured linebacker whenever he hits paydirt.
While some are doing elaborate endzone dances, Johnson heads to his knees to pray, followed up holding up the 5-0 with both hands. Not only is a Brown doing this for a Steeler, but he doesn’t want any recognition for his actions. That isn’t his intention.
"I just do it and kind of move on," Johnson told ESPN. "Once again I'm not actually doing it for praise, for people to reach out. To me it's bigger than that."
So, why exactly is Johnson doing this, if it isn’t to bring some positive attention to himself on an 0-15 football team?
"Just looking out for one of our own" Johnson said.
While the Steelers, or Shazier, haven’t reached out to Johnson in any way, head coach Mike Tomlin acknowledged the gesture when speaking with Cleveland media prior to their Week 17 game at Heinz Field.
"It's just great to be in a business where that gets highlighted," Mike Tomlin said. "That happens all around us. Guys show class in a lot of ways, but for whatever reason in today's sports society we spend a lot of time talking about negativity. ... I tip my cap to him for what he's doing."
While society often paints a very ugly picture of the modern athlete, this is the type of story which should, but doesn’t, get nearly enough attention.
No one wants to see an injury like the one suffered by Ryan Shazier, and it is great to see a player, from a rival at that, taking the time to lift up one of his fallen brothers.