One of the first things that stood out from the Detroit Lions’ first photographs from training camp was the huge knee brace on Kerryon Johnson’s right knee. 10 months removed from his significant knee injury and subsequent surgery, the natural inclination was to be concerned that he still needed support for his leg.
However, the knee brace has become second nature to Johnson, and physically, he feels completely fine—well, as fine as you can feel after a week of intense training camp practices.
“I feel pretty good, actually,” Johnson said during a Zoom call on Saturday. “I mean, it’s fall camp, nobody really feels good, but I feel about as good as you can feel. Nothing really bothering me.”
As for the knee brace, Johnson has actually learned to enjoy having it. It provides comfort and obviously stability for his knee. At this point, it’s just who he is.
“Me and the knee brace are one. Like, we’re one person,” Johnson said. “I work with it, it works with me. I’ve used it all offseason. I used it all when I was coming back last season. That’s just the new me. I’m the knee brace guy, everybody jokes about. It feels great. I like having the knee brace on. It helps me out a lot. Gives me a little peace of mind, as well.”
Johnson will need that peace of mind, because he’ll be fighting for touches after the Lions drafted D’Andre Swift with their second-round pick this year. Johnson hasn’t been bothered by the move and says he “happy to have more help.” As for being overlooked or slept on, that’s just as much of his identity as the knee brace is now.
“We can go back to high school and talk about (being) slept on,” Johnson said. “When I was coming through in high school, I was too small to be a running back. Everybody wants me to play DB. Nobody thinks I can make it at the next level. Went to college, same thing happened. (Kamryn) Pettway started running the ball very well in college. ‘Oh, Kerryon’s this and that and this and that.’ Same thing happened. So it’s really nothing new for me. Honestly, I don’t care. I know how good I am. I know what I can do.”