Some rookies host parties with their close friends and family on the day they expect to be drafted by an NFL team. Everyone huddles around the television and sometimes, cameras capture the euphoria when a team’s GM finally makes the call to tell the player he is now a pro.
Kansas City Chiefs rookie ILB, Nico Johnson, opted for a simpler time-killer last April while waiting for that call.
He gardened with his grandmother.
“I tried to be patient, as best as possible and I just tried to relax as best as I could,” Johnson said in comments published on KCChiefs.com. My grandmother decided to make me help her with her garden to try to relax me…..to get an opportunity to play for the Chiefs, I can’t wait to get a chance to play in Arrowhead Stadium and just trying to do something special, while I’m here.”
Johnson’s patience paid off. The Chiefs selected him with the 99th pick in the 4th round and despite not being a high pick, Johnson should have a chance to start as a rookie. Should Johnson accomplish that lofty goal, he will join one of the NFL’s most talented group of linebackers. Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali and Justin Houston have all been elected to the Pro Bowl. According to Johnson, the veterans have welcomed him with open arms.
“Derrick is probably the most out of anybody, him and Justin Houston. He keeps me motivated every day, to make me understand that I’m going to make mistakes at the position and to just go out, have fun and enjoy the game.”
Johnson told KCChiefs.com that the Chiefs have a new mentality under new head coach Andy Reid.
“We have the mindset of ‘we won’t be denied’,” said Johnson. “We want to have a better year than what’s been going on in the past couple of years; we have a new coaching staff and some new players on the team and the veterans are stepping up into that role of leading. I talk to (Chiefs LB) Derrick Johnson a lot and he’s been talking about stepping into that role of leading this team to where we want to go. We have the right mindset and we just want to go out each and every day and get better.”