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Former BOTPW Star Earns NFL Opportunity in Dallas
By: John Harris
The kickoff of the NFL preseason isn’t quite like the first Thursday/Sunday of the regular season, but it’s special nonetheless. Thursday marks the true opening of the 2015 NFL Preseason with six games on tap. Okay, technically, the Steelers and Vikings played in the Hall of Fame Game last Sunday night, but that was just a football Amuse-bouche. The real deal kicks off on Thursday and plenty of Lone Star State eyes will be on the Dallas Cowboys as they take on the San Diego Chargers.
It’s the only late game, kicking off at 10 PM EST, so plenty of the nation’s eyes will be tuned into this matchup. Consequently, those fans that traveled to Houston for the Battle of the Piney Woods the past few years will recognize the Cowboys starting tailback. With Darren McFadden, Lance Dunbar and Joseph Randle dealing with nagging injuries, former Stephen F. Austin running back Gus Johnson is truly the only healthy running back heading into the matchup with the Chargers. It may be Johnson’s only opportunity to get a significant number of carries in the preseason, but for a man who had to sit for months wondering whether he’d get to a training camp at all, he won’t mind.
32 teams passed on Johnson in the 2015 NFL Draft which forced him to try out in Dallas. After an impressive tryout, he waited and waited and waited. Would the phone ring? Would the Cowboys offer him a contract? Finally, a few days before training camp, Johnson’s agent got the call. The Cowboys offered him a contract and he was on his way to Oxnard, CA as a member of the Cowboys.
Due in large part to the aforementioned injuries, he’s gotten a ton of work in training camp and has impressed the Cowboys coaching staff.
“I like to get the dirty yards, put my head down” Johnson told the assembled media this week after practice. I’d imagine with determination like that this won’t be the last we see of the former BOTPW star in the near future.