Inside The Bills

Pepper started thinking about coaching in college

Posted by johnmurphyshow on February 4, 2014 – 10:00 pm

He had a 13-year playing career in the NFL. Pepper Johnson won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants at linebacker, and he was a Pro Bowl performer two times.

Yet all the time, Johnson knew that he wanted to be a coach. The Bills new Defensive Line Coach says he started thinking about coaching when he was attending Ohio State University, but he thought about coaching at a much lower level.

“Pretty much when I was in college at Ohio State,” Johnson said, when asked when he was bitten by the coaching bug, “but I never expected it at this level. I wanted to coach at my high school.”

Johnson was a guest Tuesday night on The John Murphy Show. He said as he made his way through the NFL as a player, he made a point of talking to teammates and opponents about coaching points.

“I tried to pick the brains of everybody I respected as a player,” he said. “So I talked to Reggie White, I talked to Richard Dent, I talked to Seth Joyner, defensive guys. I talked to Cornelius Bennett for a linebacker point of view. I talked to receivers, defensive backs. If I could get some of that knowledge and give it to high school kids that still have that drive, I felt like I was going to be a great high school football coach.”

Instead, Johnson got to work with his former Coach, Bill Belichick, in training camp one summer. And Belichick saw to it that Johnson never left the team.

“I did a minority fellowship with Coach Belichick after I retired,” he told host John Murphy, “and I wanted to get some information on how to organize your staff and practice schedules. I think Coach Belichick knew if I got back involved with football, I was going to stay.”

Stay he did. Johnson just wrapped up a 14-year coaching stint with New England, before signing on to coach the Bills Defensive Line last week.

The entire radio interview with Pepper Johnson is available here


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