WASHINGTON — The Dragons are just two games into their XFL season, but Seattle’s defense is already making a name for itself. A big part of that success is linebacker Steven Johnson.
Experience, leadership, and mindset are three factors that make linebacker Johnson their elected defensive captain. With 74 NFL career games under his belt, Dragon number 59 also leads the XFL in tackles through Week 2 with 18. With nearly 30,000 fans cheering Seattle to victory in the home opener, he’s no stranger to remaining cool when fans are bringing the fire.
“It helps because I’ve been in hard situations before,” Johnson explained. “I’ve played in Super Bowls and division round playoffs where communication is everything; you have to be on the same page. When I get out there, I try to keep the guys calm and say It’s just like practice. We’ve been doing this all the time… Don’t take the moment. Don’t make it too big. Just focus on your keys and focus on your techniques and you’ll be successful.”
At 31 years of age, Johnson’s experiences has shaped his mindset. A player doesn’t survive six years in the NFL without mental toughness, something that he brings to the field every day.
“I pride myself on being one of the best linebackers in the world,” said Johnson. “I know I’m playing in the XFL, but any linebacker that has aspirations of being great has that mentality, and I’ve had that mentality for a long time. I’m just getting ready for Saturday because I have to do it again. If you’re not great all the time, then you’re just mediocre.”
Speaking of experience, the Dragons are making moves. They added linebacker Korey Toomer to the defensive arsenal. Toomer brings seven seasons, 53 games, and 133 combined NFL tackles to his stat sheet.
“He’s got a lot of experience and I actually remember playing against him in the NFL,” recalled Johnson. “It’s going to make us that much better.”
The Dragons got their first win last weekend in the home opener, and they return to Centurylink Field this Saturday looking for their first divisional win against the Dallas Renegades. Kick-off is at 2:00 PM PT.