This was a special opportunity for me. I had the pleasure of interviewing my first Browns player. I was shocked as heck when he said that he would do this interview. Shocked and VERY excited! You will find that he is very personable, humble, and appreciative of the opportunity that he has been given to play for our Browns. So please, take a seat on the Browns Couch and get to know our Fullback, Mr. Johnny Stanton.
Have you had a chance to hang out in Cleveland at all?
The only chance I had to visit Cleveland was for two nights when I was there for my physical and signed the contract. I didn’t have a big opportunity to tour around but I did get over to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and spent an afternoon over there.
What was it like playing for UNLV?
Playing ball at UNLV was such a great opportunity. I was betting on myself when I chose to go to junior college after two years at Nebraska because I thought there was another D1 team that wanted me to play for them. When UNLV called after 1 semester, I was very thankful that I was going to play again against some big-time teams.
You played mostly as a QB during your college career, why did you start playing other positions?
My playing time at UNLV was hampered by some injuries, and I when I returned I wasn’t able to win my quarterback job back, I chose to think of it as an opportunity to learn more of the game. I ended up asking to play some special teams. After a few games, the linebacker coach asked me if I could give the LB room some depth, so I moved there in the middle of the season. After finishing the year again at QB, I knew that if I was going to get any interest from NFL teams, I’d have to show that I was an athlete who was versatile. I began training at TE and when Minnesota signed me, they switched me to Fullback, which feels very natural now.
Did you have any football heroes growing up?
Growing up in LA during the prime era of USC football, I was a big Reggie Bush fan. The combination of him and Lendale White was very fun to watch.
You were signed to the Brown in late January, what was that moment like for you?
Signing with the Browns was very exciting. My winter was very hectic, having interest from a few different teams and finding myself on a lot of flights to different cities. When Cleveland called and actually asked me to join the squad, I felt like I had found the place that would allow me to develop as a football player. I am fully ready to embrace the Orange and Brown.
What are your 3 main personal goals for this season?
My goals this year are to make the active roster, be a physical force on the field, and prove a lot of people wrong.
How do you get yourself mentally ready for a game? Are there any pre-game rituals?
I like to zone in with some music while stretching and activating. Not much music that will get me pumped up, but something that’ll build my focus and not get my adrenaline going too early, like Fink or Gary Clark Jr.
So far, what do you think of the fan base here in Cleveland?
The fan base is really fun to interact with. Everyone has been really supportive over social media and they seem to be ready to have a fullback in Cleveland again, which makes me feel very welcome.
Some fans have a “prove it to us” attitude this year. How do you think you can deal with the weight of last season and making sure this one is a successful one?
There is noise for every team every season. The key is canceling it out and focusing on yourself and your job. My job is to improve the 2020-21 Browns to the best of my abilities and to ignore the extra stuff.
What is your favorite part about being an NFL player?
My favorite part about being an NFL player has to be the ability to compete with some of the best people at what they do. Not just on Sundays, but in practice, in the weight room, right now in the off-season. You get to meet a lot of impressive people who challenge you to get better each and every day.
As a new member of the Dawg Pound, do you understand the richness and the history that comes with being a Cleveland Brown?
The history of the Browns is something that I’m definitely taking interest in and want to add to. There have been some amazing players who have called themselves a Cleveland Brown. Honoring them and the franchise is always in my mind.
Coach Stefanski has said that he “I have a healthy respect for the fullback position,” How do you plan on showing him that you are 100% the right person for the job?
I plan on showing that I’m the right guy for the job by always working harder than the next guy. Never taking any practice or workout for granted is something I try to pride myself in.
Knowing how Coach Stefanski works and operates, do you think that is going to aide you in having a successful season?
Coach Stefanski is an incredibly smart coach, IMO. I really enjoyed my short time in Minnesota with him. He is someone that I trust when things go well and when they go badly. I’m excited to work with him again.
If you could say anything to the Cleveland Browns fanbase, what would that be?
The one thing that I want to say to Browns fans is that I’m so thankful to you for welcoming me and I can’t wait to get back to Cleveland so we can get back to work.
Again, thank you to Johnny for sitting on the couch with me. You have given me hope for this upcoming season. I hope that you get on the active roster because with your mental attitude and your positivity it is EXACTLY what this team needs! You can follow our Fullback on Twitter @johnnystatntoniv and on Instagram @johnnystantoniv.
A personal note: I have said it before that I am going into this season with zero expectations but a lot of hope. It is my wish that Johnny’s “go get em’ ” attitude is contagious in the locker room and that he inspires the other players to do what needs to be done to bring the city of Cleveland what is has so desperately wanted for so long. A Super Bowl championship.
Here we go Brownies! HERE WE GO!!!