A Feel Good Story About an Ex-Bears and a Current Bear.................
Ex-Bears safety Johnson credits Urlacher with assist
By Brad Biggs, Tribune reporter 2:31 p.m. CDT, June 5, 2012
Fund-raising was one thing former Chicago Bears safety Todd Johnson wasn’t prepared to do when he took over as the varsity coach at Sarasota (Fla.) Riverview High School. Fortunately, an old friend stepped forward to lend a hand.
Johnson had prepared for the football part during his seven seasons as a safety in the NFL, the first four with the Bears. But when Johnson took over Riverview last season, he learned much more went into the job.
Johnson reached out to the Tribune to explain how linebacker Brian Urlacher purchased new Nike uniforms for the varsity team, taking care of one major obstacle for Johnson as he prepares for the coming season.
“It’s cool and it’s awful generous of Brian,” Johnson said. “I’ve stayed in touch with a lot of the guys, he being one of them. I just told my situation to him, that I was in charge of the varsity, JV and freshman programs and we had times last season where we couldn’t dress all the kids on varsity that deserved to be up. Sometimes we dress 65 kids. We were in need and Brian said, ‘Let me know what you need and I’ll take care of it.'"
Johnson said Urlacher wasn’t looking for publicity but that “sometimes people need something good written about them.”
A fourth-round draft pick in 2003, Johnson was a valuable special teams player for the Bears through 2006 and a regular contributor on defense. He went to the St. Louis Rams and last played for the Buffalo Bills in 2009.
A 1998 graduate of Riverview, Johnson had his mind made up when he was playing that one day he would like to go back to his school and coach. He’s also teaching physical education while raising a young family with a 2-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son. Johnson was hired to replace longtime, successful coach John Sprague and the Rams were 3-7 last season.
“I always came back here during the summers and worked out,” Johnson said. “It’s nice to be back home and we’re trying to get the program where it needs to be. Our coach that retired was here for 30 years and had a lot of teams that were top five in the country. There’s a lot of tradition.
“We didn’t do too well last year but we’ve got some really, really good young guys that have a chance to go off and play somewhere. With the two kids now and coaching, I don’t think I’ve ever been busier. It love it. It’s exciting and fun.
“What I didn’t realize was how much fund-raising was required and getting donations. That was a big surprise to me. We draw big gates at our games, nice big crowds, but football basically supports all the sports in the high school so it doesn’t all go to your program.”
Now, Johnson considers Urlacher a part of the school’s program.
“Brian always treated everyone on the team the same way,” he said. “He was a class act and I thought it would be cool for this to be out there.”
Johnson said anyone interested in contacting him to help support the program can reach him at Todd_Johnson@sarasota.k12.fl.us.
I'm getting to that age where a lifetime warranty just doesn't mean as much to me anymore as an afternoon nap. Honey Badger Don't Care. Honey Badger Don't Give a Shit.
High Fives / Like - 3 BEAR DOWN!, 0 Dislikes
Way to go Lach!
"Give 100%. 110% is impossible. Only idiots recommend that." - Ron Swanson
Thanks for posting this. It's nice to read positive stuff about players. We get a steady diet of the negatives, and players screwing up. But you know there must be 100 times more positive stories the sports media could write.
Good for Urlacher. He sure seems like a class act.
Trestman - Kromer - Tucker - DeCamillis
I'm looking forward to seeing these guys coach. Hope they're good.
That is nice to hear.