CULVER CITY, Calif. -- At this point, it's difficult to say if Stevie Johnson has a lot of tattoos or his tattoos have a lot of Stevie Johnson.
In other words, the dude's got a ton of ink. The most recent additions are prominently displayed on the back of his large hands. On the right, perfect cursive reads "Handle biz." On his left, it spells out "Have fun."
|Stevie Johnson is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in Buffalo. (Ben Liebenberg/NFL.com)|
"Handle biz for me is putting in that work on the field all throughout the week," Johnson said during a sitdown with NFL.com. "When I make a play and get a touchdown, I just handled some biz, and now I'm going to have fun."
Of course, the "fun" part has a habit of getting Johnson in trouble. He was fined for mocking Plaxico Burress' shooting incident after scoring a touchdown against the Jets in November. In the season finale against the Patriots, he was benched after bringing back his signature TD celebration, pulling up his jersey to reveal a message scrawled on a white T-shirt.
We ask if the days of using his stomach as a billboard are over.
"This offseason I had surgery," he joked. "I ended up inserting this electric-rod thing inside me, and every time I pick up a permanent marker in the locker room, I get electrocuted."
The conversation turns to Terrell Owens, the man whose big mouth and expressive celebrations first turned Johnson on to the wide receiver position as a teen. Johnson was a teammate of Owens during the 2008 season. He calls Owens "a big brother" who doesn't deserve the bad teammate label that's almost certainly played a part in his NFL exile.
"When he came in (to Buffalo), I was like, 'OK, I wonder how this dude is gonna be, like real arrogant and cocky, he's T.O. 'I love me some me.' But when he came in, he was the best teammate ever. He worked hard.
"I love practice ... The way he worked was insane," Johnson said. "Every day at practice he's out there challenging DBs one-on-one."
We ask Johnson if Owens -- now struggling financially and trying to keep his career alive in the Indoor Football League -- serves as a cautionary tale of sorts.
"It is rough, but there's plenty of guys that went through similar things, he's not the first," he said. "It's kind of a learning thing. He's been an example of positive, negative, everything. In this situation, this is what he's going to be an example of. Guys that are coming up, they can look at T.O.'s situation and learn from it."
As for Peyton Manning, Johnson is glad the Bills aren't in the mix for the future Hall of Famer's services. (We suppose your QB gains loyalty points when he shaves his head in honor of your contract status.) We ask if the Bills should just fold up shop if Manning signs with an AFC East team and Buffalo must deal with Manning and Tom Brady four times.
"Not at all. This is what it's about," he said. "You're in the NFL, this is the cream of the crop and every week is tough no matter what the name is. Those guys are great, Brady and Manning, but it's a challenge. You always want to slay the dragon, right?"