Anthony Johnson is ready to battle for the Express
By Dylan Rubino, Memphis Express Team Reporter
One day after being added to the Memphis Express active roster, defensive end Anthony Johnson was immediately thrown into the fire.
The 25-year-old from New Orleans made his presence known on his first day of camp as the former LSU Tiger exploded through the offensive line and made multiple stops in the opposing backfield.
His teammates are already calling him “Kimbo,” a reference to the late American fighter Kimbo Slice. Johnson is loving every second of it and looks to prove himself again at the professional level.
“It all starts up front and I like to live in the backfield,” Johnson said with a grin. “At the end of the day, if I can beat you to the punch, that’s my job. I love that feeling and nothing’s better.”
Johnson bounced around multiple practice squads in the NFL for the past four years, but never got the right chance to prove himself on an active roster. Johnson was a highly coveted football player coming out of O. Perry Walker High School in New Orleans, holding the Louisiana state record for career sacks with 67.5.
Johnson joins former LSU teammates Zach Mettenberger and Sam Montgomery on the Express and is loving the opportunity the Express is giving him.
“It’s a great opportunity to join this league and the Express gave me a great opportunity,” Johnson said. “My teammates are right behind me and I’m happy for this opportunity.”
Memphis Express General Manager Will Lewis was always a fan of Anthony Johnson from his days at LSU and saw a great opportunity to bring him in and add depth and experience to the defensive line.
“He’s the high energy, up-tempo and juice type guy,” Lewis said of Johnson. “What guys like that do it is make the other guys around him a little bit better. It raises the tempo of the practice and that’s what you’re looking to get from him.”
The voice of Johnson was well-heard not only during practice, but in the locker room as his energy and passion made waves all throughout his first day with the Express. Johnson said. he’s always been loud and passionate and doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon.
“I was born in it, not sworn in it. There’s a difference,” Johnson said about his energy. “I just love the game. It’s like I tell my guys, if you appreciate the game of football, it doesn’t matter what level you’re on. You’re going to go out there and play like a kid.”
Johnson’s energy is contagious as Lewis looks to build his defense off that and drive. Johnson certainly brings that to the table.
“To me, that’s what defense is all about. It’s about effort, high energy and guys making plays and making other guys around them pretty fired up,” Lewis said. “That will carry over on the offense and hopefully those guys will do the same thing.”
The Memphis Express opens its season on February 10 with a visit to The Birmingham Iron. The Memphis Express opens its home schedule on February 16 hosting the Arizona Hotshots. Get tickets here. https://aaf.com/memphis-express/tickets/