Defensive Lineman Raymond Johnson III
August 31, 2021
Q: What were your emotions as of today, making the 53-(man roster)? And that can change of course, as you know.
A: My emotions – I’ve been just trying to stay calm all day, but (it’s) definitely a milestone for me. Obviously, it’s excitement. I’m probably going to enjoy tonight, just have it on my mind of course. But by tomorrow I’m forgetting it, I’m resetting and I’m getting right back to work.
Q: When you came to camp, what were your thoughts about – am I facing a big hill or what?
A: My thoughts were just, you’re playing football. I’ve been playing football all my life, so my thoughts were just come in and just play the game like I know how to play it. Be coachable, listen, take mental notes from the vets and everything will fall in the right spot.
Q: How long did it take you for you to feel like that you belonged here from the start of the spring through the end of training camp?
A: I think it took roughly about that first – maybe those first two weeks, because the speed of the game is a lot faster than college. The players are a lot better than college. I would say the first two weeks it kind of took me just to mentally get right and know, ‘Okay, this is a faster game.’ But I’d say after those first two weeks, it was smooth sailing, and I knew I was in the right place. I knew I was here to stay.
Q: Just to clarify, two weeks in the spring or the first two weeks of training camp?
A: Two weeks in the spring. Yeah, two weeks in the spring.
Q: What do you think you bring to this team?
A: Besides the obvious reasons – young legs, I’m cheap (laughs). Just a guy who’s always going to be coachable, hard work ethic. I’m always one of those guys who’s always eager to learn. When people think I’m just quiet and I’m just standing around, I’m eager to learn and I’m always trying to learn something new.
Q: People think you’re quiet?
A: For the most part. Especially when I first got here. I was very quiet, very observant.
Q: But you’re not quiet?
A: No, no. I don’t think so.
Q: How much have you soaked up from the veterans in your group because you do have big personalities, but also guys who have accomplished a lot lately in this league?
A: I can’t tell you the magnitude of how severe that these guys have helped me. I’ve learned so much from them and continuously, I’m still learning. I think every day I get in the mind and the brain of (Defensive Lineman) Leo (Williams) and guys like (Defensive Tackle) Danny Shelton. I’m just picking their minds every day, like, ‘What can I do here better? What can I do here?’ So, I have to tell you, I’ve been learning from them daily and I don’t think it’s going to stop. They’re probably going to be tired of me by the time the end of the season’s over.
Q: Georgia Southern probably isn’t the most well-known place around here. Did you get recruited by bigger schools or how did that work out?
A: Yeah, I actually did get recruited by a lot of big schools. I think in high school I actually kind of messed myself up because I got eligible late out of high school. So, a lot of my big offers, the ones that I was leaning on like, VT (Virginia Tech), I talked to USC (South Carolina) every day, Clemson and those kind of guys, they kind of backed off. So, I ended up falling on with Georgia Southern.
Q: I made this joke a couple of days ago about the idea that they don’t give that 91 out to just anybody in this building. Did you realize the significance of who wore that number?
A: Oh man, yeah. Day one, man, I remember getting the number and I was like, ‘Jeez, I didn’t even get drafted.’ So, I’m looking like, this is crazy because not a lot of people know, and I know not a lot of fans know, but I’m a huge Giants fan and I grew up watching (Former New York Giants Defensive End) Justin Tuck. Just to have the opportunity to have his number was huge to me and I didn’t take it lightly.
Q: Did you try to grab him when he was here that one day?
A: Oh, yeah. I definitely picked his mind a little bit. We talked and basically, he was saying the same thing that you’re saying, ‘Hey man, anybody can’t where this number, so you better be right.’ I took that one to heart.
Q: How nerve-racking were these last 24 hours? Could you sleep at all last night? What was going through your head?
A: Oh yeah, I slept great. My approach to it is, I’ve done everything I’ve needed to do. I work hard, I play hard. I’ve learned. I did everything I could do on my end. I’m big on controlling the controllable, whether they need me or not, make sure I did everything on my end to put myself in the best possible position. So, I slept great.