SJ13: Limitless

Stevie Johnson’s the guy we all hate to love, or love to hate. Either way, we love him. He makes us pull our hair out and in the next moment, celebrate ecstatically. Although he is no stranger to harsh criticism and media scrutiny, stats don’t lie. He’s the only Buffalo Bills receiver to boast three consecutive seasons with 1,000 receiving yards.

(Photo by Mark Mulville / Buffalo News)
(Photo by Mark Mulville / Buffalo News)

How exactly does a receiver on a predominately running offense, with more quarterback struggles than the average team continue to shine? Dedication. And lots of it. Stevie Johnson is immeasurably loyal to his team and personal growth. In fact, week six against the Bengals was Stevie’s first missed game since 2009. He played in 53 games straight, pretty impressive for a guy who has had hamstring issues, a broken hand and a torn groin.

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Stevie’s maturity on the field is progressing right along with his skill. Every Bills fan can agree he used to be an immense liability. Whenever he scored a touchdown or made a big play, we would hold our breath and beg, “Please don’t blow it, Stevie”. He’s undoubtedly entertaining, until it starts affecting the outcome of the game. Former head coach Chan Gailey gave Stevie a major wake up call during the 2011 season and benched him for his wild antics. He has refrained ever since. Even though Stevie’s personal mantra is “Handle Biz and Have Fun,” he has learned the appropriate time and place.

It’s indisputable that he simply wants to win and contribute to that as much as possible. It may not always seem like it, but Stevie is incredibly consistent. In the past three seasons, he has averaged 79 catches, 1,041 yards and eight touchdowns. Not many receivers, especially with such extensive quarterback issues, can boast these statistics. This seventh-round draft pick continues to exceed expectations. In his first two seasons, plagued by a rib injury, he barely surpassed 100 yards. During the 2010 offseason, a fire must have been lit inside this young receiver. He won the starting position and began to make his name known in the NFL world.

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In his breakout season, he broke 1,000 yards and began to sport a whole new confidence. He’s certainly not afraid of a little smack talk and clearly encourages friendly rivalry within the league. Against the Bengals, he lifted up his jersey to reveal “Why So Serious” in an effort to taunt Ochocinco and T.O., who dubbed themselves Batman and Robin. The following year, Stevie pretended to shoot his leg and fall to the ground, in a mockery to Plaxico Burress’s “incident.” This year, he made the bold claim, in reference to the Patriots, “I don’t think they got nobody that can stop me.” Stevie is a versatile player that can run any route at any spot and still be trusted to break away and make the catch. It has been exciting to watch him come into his own as a player and member of the Buffalo community.

Stevie Johnson is known to wear many hats, and that’s not just an allusion to his role as a New Era brand ambassador. He is a top receiver, entertainer, rapper, businessman, and volunteer for many Buffalo organizations. Once a little known NFL player, he now has notable endorsements with VIZIO televisions, Pant Saggin Dezign apparel, Deuce Brand watches and Northtown Auto.

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It’s not rare to see him doing Twitter contests, buying TVs for unsuspecting customers or volunteering with the Play60 organization and Boys and Girls Club. He has matured exponentially through his professional and personal journey as a Buffalo Bill. Whether it’s improving his game, sealing business deals or bettering the community, it’s safe to say Stevie is always up to something.

From his slowly advancing NFL start, Stevie Johnson has developed into one of the most valuable assets on the Buffalo Bills squad. On any given Sunday, you can see him juke the opposing corner, explode on his route and throw his body around in an effort to make a nearly impossible catch.

About Carolyn Eberhart

Follow Carolyn on Twitter at @ceberhart5.