Johnny Football: “The Perfect Teammate”January 14th, 2014
Joe hears the anti-Johnny Football crowd — you know who you are.
If these types are not in the Mike Glennon Mob, then they’re satisfied with a boring Bucs offense and hope the Bucs catch lightning in a bottle with a sixth-round-pick quarterback, which happens about once every time someone sees Halley’s Comet.
These anti-progressive, anti-Johnny Football fearmongers want you to believe Johnny Football is not a team player, that he is neither respected nor liked inside the walls of the Texas A&M locker room, thus, is not fit to wear the pewter and red of the Bucs. How the fearmongers know this, Joe has no clue.
So Joe decided to ask someone who would know about Johnny Football. And that is his starting tailback at Texas A&M, Ben Malena, who happened to be practicing for the West Squad at St. Petersburg High School yesterday.
For those who cling to this notion that Johnny Football is a bad teammate, Malena has a word for you: Bulls(p)it!
“He was the perfect teammate!” Malina exclaimed.”He’s a leader on the field and when it came to gameday, he was a winner.”
Now Joe knows the same fearmongers will point to Johnny Football’s antics on the sidelines, beating his chest in front of his defensive teammates, begging for the football, jumping on benches and extolling fans to get on their feet, like a distraction of a exhibitionist prancing about for attention.
Not so, said Malena. He noted all of his offensive teamates were like Johnny Football.
“It wasn’t just [Johnny Football], it was the whole offense,” Malena said. “The [TV] camera was just more focused on him.”
As a matter of fact, Malena’s agent, who was nearby, said it was Malena, not just Johnny Football, who gave a rousing halftime speech that helped rally the Aggies against Duke in the Chicken Bowl.
“It was me,” Malena confessed. “We got the guys in there and I basically told them, ‘Look, this is the last time the 2013 Aggies will be together. How do you want to be remembered?’”
Malena might be a guy to keep an eye on. He is the personification of versatile. Playing in the spread offense run by Kevin Sumlin, Malena was as adept at catching passes as he was running the ball. He also played on four different special teams, serving as a kick and sometimes punt returner.
As a receiver, Malena averaged nine yards a catch out of the backfield. Running the ball, Malena averaged just under five yards a carry.
“And I’m not afraid to pick up a blitz,” Malena said.