Miami Dolphins rookie Anthony Johnson talked to A Head For The Game following his sides’ 38-14 win against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday at Wembley Stadium in Game 9 of the International Series.
The defensive tackle got on the stat sheet in the NFL regular season for the first time with a combined tackle – his first stat after four regular season games so far – and tells us about his London experience and what it means for someone so young to take part in something like this so early in his career.
“Just to have an opportunity like this, especially with it being my rookie year is a blessing,” said the 21-year-old, who disputed a reported failed drug test at the 2014 NFL Combine. “Having an off season where I had to overcome some adversity and to now have played with some great guys, some great teammates and some great coaches as well as having the opportunity to play in a foreign country, I love it and I’m blessed.
“It felt like my Super Bowl today. We’re going to play in the Super Bowl this year, but just to see all of those fans out there it felt like a college atmosphere, it felt like I was at a huge soccer game and we were just making plays out there, so I really enjoyed it.”
Despite the result and successful business trip for the team from Miami, Johnson is not letting himself get carried away as they face one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks in their first game back after the bye week; Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
“The main thing for us is to just keep playing physical,” said the former Louisiana State University player.
“Just because we’re going into a bye week we’re not going to let anything go off of our mind, we still have to play the Miami Dolphins defense at the end of the day.
“We’re going to take this victory and embrace it, but we worked hard for it. There is a great team coming up in Green Bay at home after the bye week so we will have to go out there and prepare even harder and get ready to play the toughest stretch of our season.”
Now that the Miami Dolphins have halted their slide in fortunes to move to a .500 2-2-0 record in the AFC East, what does the native of Baton Rouge in Louisiana think his side can achieve this season?
“I’m expecting a lot from the season as we have the defensive and offensive coaches to do it,” said Johnson, who is 6’’2. “I want nothing less than the Super Bowl, but at the end of the day my goal is to just try and help this team the best way I can. Hopefully I can be in the running for the ‘Rookie of the Year’ defensive player award, but really I just go out there, have fun and keep playing football.”
Experiences in sport are always better when you are the winning side, but despite being the youngest player on the Dolphins roster, the 21-year-old is well aware of what a trip to London has meant for him.
“This experience has been great – it’s networking,” he said. “I came out here, met some great people and it’s all over social media; Twitter, Instagram.
“I got to meet some great people out here in London and I won’t take this trip for granted – I will let everyone know to come out here and visit, it’s a great place.
“Big Ben is beautiful – I would say to any rookie just to come out here…and enjoy the fish and chips!”