Average to Savage
Average to Savage

Episode · 1 year ago

Josh Johnson | Average To Savage EP118

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This is the one hundred and eighteenth episode of the Average to Savage podcast featuring NFL quarterback Josh Johnson. Paul Guarino talked with Josh Johnson discussing his journey in the NFL, playing in other leagues like the XFL, and his business portfolio.

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This podcast interview with Josh Johnson was originally recorded on February 8, 2021

...this'll is the average to savage podcast with Paul Guerrino. Everyone in anyone athletes, celebs and much more. What's up, everybody? I'm back for another episode of the average savage podcast or special guest today is Josh Johnson. Josh, how's it going? Going Good, big dog. Thanks for having me. How you doing? Hey, I'm doing good. Appreciate you coming on. I know. We've been working on it for a while. I was trying to get you back in the XFL days and then, you know, all that got scrambled. So but now you're back. I know you just signed with the 40 Niners recently. How does that feel? I feels good, Uh, been on the team with his organization Thio Times, at other times in my career, Uh, got picked up a week, like at halfway through the season. Basically. But I was on the practice squad. Uh, I was able to do something, showing really What? I'm at this point in my career enough to get him the one bringing back for another year. So I'm just looking. I'm excited about it and just getting the process going. Yeah, So I know you've been on a lot of teams. What is it like when you go back to a team that you're already with? Um, it's It's more comfortable, I'll tell you that. You know? No. You know the familiar faces in the building that still stuck around, um, just comfortable with the organization, understanding expectations and things that you you know what what they expect every day that you come to work. And then But then they still knew because there's obviously a lot of turnover. That's probably that's why. So you just you know, you deal, you get the familiar with the new faces and then just get back to work. I mean, football is football and just get in the process of learning, learning what's expected to you, and then meet those expectations daily and then exceed them. Yeah, for sure. And if I if I did my research correct. You grew up a 40 Niners fan, right? Yeah, there's 100% correct. 3, 90 miles die hard. Being from Oakland to it was, uh it was kind of like the black, you know, black people, because everybody in my family were Raider fans. But it was It was...

...pretty easy for me when I was born, you know, the Raiders were in l A. And then you went from Yeah, Joe Montana. And you have Steve Young being a quarterback myself. I just looked up to what those guys did. So it was easy for me to be a Niner fan. And really, there's always had a passion for organization. Obviously, once you become a product, kinda, you know, it gets a little tricky because the simple fact that you're on these other teams, but now But when you when I'm actually wearing this red and go, it's very fitting. Yeah, yeah, that's that's awesome. Uh, now just going back in time like, what's your first, like memory of playing football? Um, my first organized or just playing football, period. Either either or E. Remember in ah, and in first grade, trying, trying to throw it across the yard. And we had a yard I was saying is probably at my elementary. Emerson, How about 50 yards, maybe 45. And when I first got here, I couldn't throw it. I couldn't throw the ball toe like halfway. And then, as I kept getting older, I started getting closer and closer to that gate, and then I end up throwing it over that gate before I left. So that was like a big deal for me. But just, you know, that journey been a quarterback. Like I've always been the slower at the group. And so, like, that's probably my first riel memory with football right there. Yeah. So now I was gonna ask, like so you always wanted to be like a quarterback. Did you play any other prison drawing up? No. We played everything I play d line, old line. The beautiful thing about our pop warning system. I was set up in Oakland. You had to start on the line. It makes me and makes you appreciate the hard work that they dio and also makes you tough because, you know, you get contact, courage and you're in the trenches and you really understand pad level and all the, you know, the the important things in football. So, uh, I wanted to play quarterback from the get go, but that made me play Olen. I had number 73 but I wouldn't change that for the world because it, you know, helped build helped build me to the player that I end up becoming? Yeah. Yeah, definitely.

And then just going from your high school in Oakland. What was your recruiting process like to college? Wasn't highly recruited. Got got hurt. My junior year. Um, still small, really small was, like 5 £1140 at the combine, To be exact around like a 48549 40. Probably looked like I was still in elementary, and then, uh, started going a little bit. Uh, and from there, you know, made some place, but I was still a raw talent. Like, didn't really wasn't a polished passer, per se from Not from my arm. Talent standpoint, just from a fundamental standpoint, growing up in Oakland really, really have a lot of the resource is besides one quarterback, coach Roger Theater shout out to him. He passed away too. Um, but he taught me the basics, you know, tell him to work with, and then from there, just, you know, wasn't had Coach Harbaugh had a local coach. Alonso Carter. Really? I played against, uh, made a reference to coach horrible about, You know, that I have some because I saw my tape and he actually told me he knew I would grow. He felt like I was a lot better than what you know, I was showing. He just saw a lot of stuff that I didn't understand yet. And I was very grateful for him. So when he offered an opportunity to come play USD, even though it's not a scholarship I started as a blessing, just really wanted to take advantage of the opportunity, which I end up doing. Yeah, definitely. And yeah, yeah, you earned, like all American there and things like that. What about like during college was their point Was there, like, a turning point or any point before that, Like, you knew you could go pro? Um, he he was honestly telling me him and his dad was telling me my freshman year that I had a chance to, you know, be undrafted free agent. And I ain't I was like, What the hell are you talking about? I don't know. Anybody gonna pick me up for NFL, But like as I continue to get better, like he he started. He started going up in the rounds and he started and he started just saying more,...

...more. He wanted, like he installed a lot of confidence for me. Like I was. I was kind of afraid of the limelight, afraid of the success. I just wanted to play football. I didn't. I thought I was just like everybody else. So, like, he kind of installed that confidence in me That that you know, I end up internalizing it, but really didn't know how to show it. So I mean, by the time I left, I knew I knew where it was Riel. I just really had to get on the right stage to show it. And at the shrine game was able to do that. And then for Merrill, just the process, you know, of knocking, you know, checking off the list, which I didn't do at the combine. I had a horrible combine, but it was something. It was a great learning experience for me, though. Yeah, just like going into the combine. And after that, Um, like, where did you think you were gonna drafted and then like you getting drafted in the fifth round? You think like that exceeded your expectations or didn't exceed your acquisition? Um, I didn't e I think How What can I say this I exceeded people's expectations, but not minds. I felt like I had a talent. I was I was a top two round talent, but I didn't do the things necessary to get drafted in the top two rounds. Um, my, uh, talent wise could have been just I was talent. Is anybody out there? But I smarts wise, Yeah, but fundamentally wise. That's where I like. You know, the reasoning for somebody to do that, especially coming from a smart school. But it was just me. I think it was necessary for me to learn who I really waas as a quarterback like the u. S. D. I got away with things because of my athleticism that I really didn't understand how the home for me going in the fifth round, really having to find the hard way is made me become a more fundamentally sound quarterback, understanding the proper mechanics of doing, playing the position, understanding when I can use my athleticism. Because, like, I mean, as we just saw yesterday, you know, I gotta be the best athlete doing Su Bo a quarterback position. So just me going the fifth round really allowed me to focus and have that mindset of how can...

I become good at what I'm getting paid to do and then use my athleticism as a bonus? So although I didn't exceed Mike, didn't, you know, reach my expectations? I would change it because it helped me mentally, you know, get to this point of my journey. Yeah. Yeah, I feel you, um and then just going in tow Tampa Bay, year like year one. Uh, just what what was, like, your first game? Like. And then, uh, could you take me through, like, your first touchdown pass? Uh, my first game. Just dressing or this or playing? No, actually, playing my first game was my second year, actually, and it was kind of crazy because the whole off season, I was the number four quarterback, and but I knew the playbook. And then when they end up making cuts, you know, I had a couple good games in pre season. They decided to go with me and Josh Freeman as the backups to Byron Leftwich. And, uh, you know, Joshua, the first round pick. So I just kind of, you know, you got the scraps of everything, but I knew the system. So when they came in, they wanted to make a change. They told me, Are you going in next week? And I went from like, not getting no reps toe finally get in the huddle with starters and so, like that within itself was like a new experience and really it really it really grew me up because I didn't understand the business side of football in the politics that go into football, as people like to reference it as I just don't understand because I was coming from U. S. D. A small school where you know everything was earned. Nothing was given, but like and that's not the same here. It's a little different up here based on situations, and so like handling those situations was a new experience for me. But I mean, went out there through my first touchdown, Antonio Bryant, on the play action pass off the turnover and it was shit. It was exciting, but almost you would have thought out to the game winning touchdown exciting I was, but it was all just it's experiences that I'll cherish to this day, but that was just lessons like there were this lessons that I needed to go through. More importantly, because it was really...

...teaching me how that is really, really works in office. Just related to football. So yeah, definitely. Yeah. And that's a throwback named Brian Left. Which, uh, and him, uh, eyes. Is it weird that, like your former, your former teammates are now coaches? No, because he helped me out a lot. He me under his wings and he gave me so much real gang just on how to handle myself as a professional quarterback, especially African American. So him. I've always been appreciative of him. Like every time I seen I was just letting you know he was always like a big brother to me. I'm just happy for him, man. I'm not surprised that the success is having I know, I know the players loving. Obviously, I could see him and Brady got a great relationship. So I just think the sky's the limit from and it's a natural transition for most of us players to go from playing to coaching because all the guys just wanna be around the game and the next step once you can't play number. Where is coaching? Yeah. Yeah, definitely. So I know you've been on a lot of NFL teams, but just like you obviously have to have a strong mentality to just bounce around all the all the time. Like what has that been like? And how have you stuck to it? I love the game. Like first and foremost, I love the game. So, like when you love it, you gonna go hard for what you love, like we all do. We all once you're something we're passionate about something that we could wake up for on our own. We go hard for it, the mental toughness just coming, really just being honest for myself and really truthful to myself. Like taking the criticism is not against everyone is against me, which is hard to do when you're younger, but really say all right, where can I be better at and really find a way to get better at that daily, no matter what's going on? And that's just been a journey I've been on and just really using every opportunity as opportunity where I can grow as a player. Like whether it was the ufl, the XFL, whether it's working out with high school kids, whether it's anything that I'm doing using as opportunity to try to position myself to get to the...

...next step in his career. Yeah, and what's it been like just playing in different leagues to I know you're actually you're killing it in the XFL until it folded. Experience has been invaluable for me. I mean, because, I mean, there is no replacement for reps. And so if you're not getting them, you know, you got to go find them somewhere. And if you get cut, a lot of guys that sit around on the culture, you know, wait for the phone call and feel like they may feel like they're too good. Right? Then today I'm a football player. So somebody will get the opportunity to play football. Yeah. I mean, I wanna put at the highest level at all times, but if the opportunity don't exist, the only way I could position myself to do that is by going to the opportunities that's out there. And so that's what I saw those as opportunities for me to not only position myself to get back to the main stage, but to also get better, like work on the things that just probably got cut or work on the things that I know I need to grow because it's gonna make me a better player and really find my niche with it. Yeah, And would you would you say the X f l is is the reason why the 40 Niners sand? Hell, yeah, like I've got as a player, like the things I got to work on in the x f l was a accumulation of things I've been learning for the past four or five years, but not playing a lot of games. You don't really get a chance to really own these things. But in XFL's opportunity for me to own these thes thes mechanics on these situations and do it not only just in practice, but do it in games and do it and walk throughs and doing every little situation that you are able to get as a starting quarterback. So I just really, you know, I was able to put a lot together and there's, you know, I'm still growing as a player, but like like when I had the opportunity to work out for the Niners in August, I told him, I'm like my goal is to get you all to sign me and end up working out. Really? Really? What? It iss? Yeah, that's awesome. What advice would you give toe Younger kids trying to either get a d one scholarship or trying to make a pro league,...

...um, be real with yourself first and foremost like and then once you real with yourself like you don't you don't kill yourself. You just be honest. And once you're honest with yourself to me, it's not about where you starts about always how you finished, like going the one is the real goal. But if you're not, if you're not gonna get the opportunity to get to the next level, you could get education anywhere. So But if you if you want to be able to play at the next level you the first thing to do that is to get on the field. So you want to get on the field and you want to get somewhere where you could grow and then obviously still get education. And then from there, you you own that opportunity. You don't look at it as I'm at this school. I'm at that school. You look at it as I'm playing on this hunting in 20 yard grass field, and your job is to go out there and put it on tape every every moment that you can. The expectations will be harder, but expectations gonna be hard everywhere. So the sooner you get used to it is the better to be for you when you try to get to this. This pro level, which every day is hiding expectations. You gotta make it normal to be able to handle it. Yeah, yeah, for sure. And I know you mentioned about black quarterbacks before. Like, how could you like yourself? Like help people? Just being able to speak to him like that was that was my biggest battle is most of the guys that training the position that kind of can't relate to the inner city and really be ableto make that correlation. So what we experience and how we have to survive where we come from and make it out of that situation and then go, go be basically the the face of ah multi billion dollar organization like that's a huge leap, and it's like it's not that we don't want to, but, you know, it's gotta be a certain comfort level there to where we understand what we're getting ourselves into it because we don't come from these kind of environments. And even when it just comes to the fundamentals of getting...

...guys to understand that there's a different levels of throwing 300 yard passing game, you know, you could throw it 300 yards. Anybody can throw threw for 300 yards. But it's how you really doing it from the quarterback position. How you playing the game, how you see in the game? Are you throwing the ball on time? Are you making the right reads? Are you just throwing the ball up in coverage? And the receiver is just making plays for you and making you look this. So there's really levels to this and just really for me, I just wouldn't give you false realities. I give you the real reality and be able to work with guys that accept that reality, so that because what you need to know in the beginning will always help you In the end. If you on the right path versus just tryingto be, just put up a bunch of numbers, yeah, yeah, definitely. Now let's go off the field. I know you're entrepreneur. You have your own foundation. Um, tell me. Tell me a little bit about that family first, right? I found First Family Foundation is you know, that's our baby man. Uh, just is really been away. That really for us in 2000 and eight, 2007, when actually Marshawn started with the camp that me and Marcus came in and other players Ryan Murphy, DeAndre Campbell, all these guys that made it to the pros for their Larkin's or had opportunities to make it to the pros. That came up the same way we did. It was big for us in 2000 early. You know, 2007, 8 2002. Use our opportunities to not only for ourselves, but for our community. That wasn't common, you know. You know, there are people doing it, but it wasn't as common as it is today where everybody's, you know, now into giving back and really bringing the community together. So to be a part of that process and really get to the point. Now we have a youth center and partner with other like minded people and organizations to be able to share first and foremost knowledge with our community and daring resource is and then opportunity. You know, it's it's It's a good feeling, man, and it's just everything else just stems from that just being able to create opportunity.

That's not about just making money, but really just about making an impact in some form of fashion, Not just yourself and your family, but for other show is everything. Yeah, definitely. Now, I know it's weird time right now, but do you guys have any, like, events? Plan for 2021? We were just gonna, um we just had a cure. Pewter give back, uh, 90 K horrific computers, HP laptops with Oakland WiFi program and up around to colleges. And that was big for us. Uh, way have our we're doing our online zoom classes, which anybody can be a part of right now, no matter where they at long as they could meet the Times because it's online. So we're just trying to maintain, uh, I don't like it, but it's what we gotta do because everything is scaled back like we can't do our our camping trips. We can't do our field trips we can't do our within week camps of architect like everything's online and it's kind of like water down a little bit, But it's a do so you know, Yeah, I mean, yeah, there's definitely pros in concert. I mean, but I think that's why it's cool to like you just said, like now you could get anyone toe join the virtual event. It's just, you know, getting people they wanna buy into our process. A lot of people feel mentally challenged by this situation, which we all are, And, you know, some people just maybe overwhelmed with being on Zoom, which I rationalized it just a weird It's a weird time. It's weird time, man. You kinda gotta let everybody running on little race with it right now, E. I mean, the one thing I've been saying to I mean, I think the one positive thing is just like the technologies in general is just, like cool to see that like we had and we weren't using for, if not for sure, like, and I think that's, you know, opens up people's minds and open up mom things that the resource that are out here even for free that you could be using to make life a little cooler s. So I think if you sit back and use this...

...time to grow, I think those people will benefit a lot, especially when the world open back up and get them back to some normalcy. So I've just been trying to do is as opportunity to really grow Yeah, for sure. And then I know you have the ultimate gaming league. Thio, Could you tell me a little bit about that and how it came about? I'm just started with, you know, three guys from Oakland having a similar passion for gaming like me and like me, I was throwing that in turn, Mr. Launch clothing lines in 2013 and like, that's kind of what I do like, I've been playing video games since Atari, but I wasn't into the whole streaming and in online and having the right mix in the right light and all this stuff that I'm learning about now on, I was just, you know, wanted to play the game and and I was in a matter of franchise and that was the first thing you know. My guy, my friend, who runs it He's like, You got a stream, your games And I'm like, What the hell is that? Like what? You mean I gotta stream my games? He's like, You got a credit twitch and I'm like, I don't want to create a twitch. I just wanna play mad, you know, like I've been playing mad in my whole life, But I was like, my first test of it. You know your credit Twitter Stream program out the controller. That's not really what, like now with the U. G. L. We kind of doing it all like when we're like we partnered up with with the in person tournaments, uh, Madden tournaments. We had an adult lounge, halftime sports bar. Then we use a youth lounge soldier town in Oakland. We have a little pop ups, but that was like in person stuff. But when Kobe, you know, we had to evolve on, we had to learn how to do this remote thing. And where we at now what it is still throwing tournaments, person say We just had our qualifiers for our franchise, but now it's more of a league for our community on. We have these franchises headed up by NFL players highlighting, you know, myself, Sidney Jones. Chad Ochocinco has a team match. Crosby has a team, and we're gonna let our community, you know, play in our league, and we're having a carry,...

...a lot of content. And then with that league, you know, we're gonna help A lot of people, you know, benefit our prizes and things of that nature. But the ones that really take ownership of the opportunity gonna build a brand. You know, hopefully we find the next best talent to pass them on to the sports because we're not eat sports. Were more gaming, more lifestyle, more cultural base with what we're doing, Kind of welcome anyone. But, you know, there will be some hidden gems that come out of this. We want to be able to push them forward as professionals, you know, Then for us is u G L. You know, we're gonna have that athlete franchise model component. My partner, Chuck Johnson, is heavy. And the music scene So we're doing we're doing music based content like we call them DJ hangouts. And then we'll have our you know, our artists come on and you know they'll compete with each other over games but also will celebrate what they're doing in their career fields, respectively. And then I will also have, like what we call the you jail academy, which is for the younger kids. And I've been able to create, you know, resource driven game and opportunities where we not only teach them, you know, surrounding around the right people that's gonna teach them, but learn them, understand by production. Or whether this understand about PR all the different business elements that go into this thing. So we got a nucleus of opportunities not just for ourselves, but for others, which is similar to what you know. It all stands for what the family first model is. You know, not just, you know, empowering yourselves, but empowering those around you that isn't it crazy. How, like gaming is a career now is awesome. It's awesome to me. It's crazy because, like, you know, people will get cussed me out like you damn game all night or weekend off season. You wanna play the video game? I'm like, Why not? I'll travel on the road and I don't want to go out to the State House. I want to sit in my room and play my PlayStation like Like, now. That's cool, though. That's cool. Yeah, that's funny. I'm just happy...

...because there's so many of us. Do it like how many of us have been doing it. But it's only been from a consumer standpoint, So now be ableto flip the switch. You said if you take it serious, it was just like, Hey, you sports now for a kid, you do it right? You got the opportunity. And, like, unlike sports, don't have to retire. You could be Oh, yeah. Really? Are you ready for some fun questions? Yeah. Uh, what are what's three jerseys that you don't have that you want? Like any jerseys? ALS deal. I I can probably get it if I asked. I don't gotta Joe Montana. Jersey. I don't gotta Mike. Big Jersey. Who? Mm. In the last one, dear. Uh huh. Michael Jordan jars. All right, Michael Jordan and I left some people out to now is the good ones, though I love the people. Are you? That's our question where you can't make that a three d. That's, uh What was your was your was your favorite quarterback growing up, Joe Montana. I got the back end of jail. So it was more of Ah, he was like a god to me because I just like I saw, I saw him on his way out, and I just knew he was just Joe cool. And I saw all the highlights and stuff, but it started off. Really? The guy got to study because I was ever see his growth for Steve. Yeah. Then then when Steve Young guy hurt, you know, Jeff took over and I end up being teammates with Jeff, So that was cool tap. But then, like But after Jeff, it was Mike Vick and it was just like, damn! And like, I love all quarterbacks, brother. Like, I had a love hate relationship for Brett Farve. The quarterback side of me love them to 40 Niner fan of me hating him like, you...

...know, like it's always been like. I just appreciate the guys that play the game the right way and just figured like so. Like I said, I have a favorite. I really don't. I just kind of like watching guys that really get out here and get get out. Yeah, for sure. And then Obviously, I think a lot of people know you're Marshawn Lynch's cousin on. You got to play with them in high school, and then I know you were briefly on the Raiders with them, but what was it like to just play with them in the pros soon? Um, it was just a blessing, man, like, for me, It just felt like he was right back in high school. He's still He's still my favorite player of all time. Like I felt like he short changed us in his career because most people never seen the receiver side of him that I know he really was capable of doing. But, um, the end of the day, like so, the best football player I ever played with in all facets. Just, uh, the combination of size, strength, athletic ability, smarts, mentality. Just a perfect football player, like you want that guy on your team if you had a chance to. So I was blessed to be able to play with on. We were able to win our first and only championship at our high school, and he was a lot, a lot to do that. And when he did the beast quake around that run was similar. So what he did to win our high school championship and it's still floating around the Internet eso like it is just a blessing. Whenever you could put your family but like to play with probably your favorite football player, it's similar. And now markets just like that markets. Probably my favorite defensive player, because people don't give them enough credit. They don't at all at all, but they don't understand because they want. They want him to play the game or what they want. That they think he should instead understand that his corner, his position is quarterback. Raise the football player. Alright, athletes? No, he just plays the game from a football standpoint. He's he's just playing the game to guard his guy.

Yeah, I could run you off and take you out the game if that's all you focused on. Yeah, but understands everything that goes within the game. Even quarterbacks reason lingo. That's how you get so many interceptions for sure not. Alright, I gotta ask you, you could answer this or not Answer this. Uh, what it would have Marshawn Lynch scored if they gave him the ball on the Super Bowl, E I ask you just cause it's been brought up a lot this week. I was at the game when he came out a shotgun. I knew that was from the passage. I was sitting in the stands. I knew what it waas hell, you have second down on the one yard line here. He would score. All right, Last one. Besides, like video gaming and your charity work, what else do you like to do in your free time? Um really, man, just spend time with my kids, my family, um, get out. Like I'm still like the active little care. Like the ride bikes e like to go back the park. Um, I'm starting. I love traveling more now. Took places like that's unique. That's not like metropolitan areas to really get out experience culture. I'm at that point in my life where I'm really appreciating that Mother nature is starting to become more of a beautiful thing to me than it was when I was younger. So pretty much that I'll be chilling, though, but, uh, I kind of found my lanes around things and I'm passionate about, so that takes up my time and then we're having three kids and a fiancee like that takes up the rest of my time. Routine football. Yeah, And then you just squeezed in. E actually got one last question. If I if I went to Oakland, what food spot do I got to check out? Robbins. What kind? What kind of spot? Thoughtful. All right. R o B than B N s been. That...

...might have been the quickest response I ever got. Before we pull up to the band's man. Ain't gonna get you some of that get. You got options? You got chicken, got fish. You know, if you go with the whole family, you gotta get the be small platter on and have have a whack at it. Oh, man. Well, I appreciate this. Uh, and, uh, could you let the listeners really could follow you out on social media? Um, you can follow me a headache. H e a d the number eight c k e on Twitter on instagram u g l World is on instagram Ugo world. Uh, fam First families on Instagram family, First Milano or clothing line Family first us all on a I G. So you could check out everything I'm doing. But everything is centralized on my page On my bio, you could really go Just really see where I'm at. And obviously, you know, the 40 Niners is it is easy to find So that's pretty much what my life consisted of right now. Wait. How did you How did you get the name? What's the headache? Is there any story behind that? It's a story that I'm waiting to tell like I kind of gave with General General Synopsis, But it started me having a big ass head when I was little e always being like first. It went from headache head to head coach because I was a quarterback and always trying to organize some. And then the headache part came. And when I started really expressing my thoughts a lot more, I got my I've always been like a outlier thinker, so I challenged, make people think All right, I like that, you know, And that's kind of like the Star Wars Dragonball z side of me. The gamer side. You know, the little nerdy side of me. So when you put them all together, it's kind of a It's like a headache. But it's a good thing, though. I'm not a story when I'm done. E. I appreciate...

...this. This was this was dope. All right, Big dog.

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