Pittsburgh Steelers starting fullback Will Johnson almost didn’t make the NFL.
The West Virginia University graduate missed a post-college shot at the league because of the 2011 lockout. Determined, he started training with Andy Hendel at CrossFit Charlotte in North Carolina after moving to the state with his fiancee.
Johnson stayed motivated by printing out the National Athletic Combine stats of the NFL’s top athletes and pasting them on his bathroom door.
“So every morning I went to the bathroom door I could see those numbers and knew why I was gettin’ up, going to CrossFit in the morning, why I was goin’ to the field by myself,” he explains.
When Johnson signed with the Steelers, he was ecstatic.
“You wanna cry, you wanna yell,” he explains.
Johnson’s fiancee says he might not have the best genes, but he does have the best work ethic.
“Just knowing the behind the scenes of what goes on, seeing him on the field, that touchdown isn’t just a touchdown to me,” she says. “It’s something bigger than that.”
As of publication date, the fullback has played 11 games for the Steelers and has 9 receptions for 77 yards and a touchdown. The Steelers are currently second in the AFC North.
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Additional reading: CrossFitter Signs With Steelers by Andréa Maria Cecil, published April 27, 2012.