Johnson a Cup hero

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:48 AM ET

A smart aleck would suggest that no one was more sad to see Ryan Dinwiddie get cut two weeks ago than James Johnson.

The cornerback did, after all, intercept Dinwiddie three times in the 2007 Grey Cup en route to being named the game's MVP. Johnson scored a touchdown off one of the picks in Saskatchewan's 23-19 win over Winnipeg at Rogers Centre.

Johnson is now a Bomber following an off-season trade, and he must have been drooling at the thought of going up against Dinwiddie in training camp.

"I just wanted to see what he was going to say about that, because I had a feeling he was going to ask me about the game," Johnson said. "We didn't really get a chance to talk too much about it.

"... When I first got here a lot of the teammates joked about it, telling me I stole the Grey Cup from them, asking me why did I do that. I told them I don't remember. That was a couple years ago. It's a new year."

Johnson, 29, grew up in Los Angeles and, remarkably, didn't start playing football until he was 21, for West Los Angeles Junior College.

"I wanted to try," he said. "That was my main goal."

He displayed enough skills that Arkansas State offered him a scholarship in 2004. Two years later he was in Regina after his coach sent a tape to then Riders GM Roy Shivers.

Straight and narrow

One of four Bombers with the surname of Johnson, he refuses to go into detail about his youth in L.A., but he grew up in a single-parent household and admits he wasn't always on the straight and narrow.

"It was pretty tough for me," Johnson said.

"You have a single parent at home, and I had to become a man early. It was tough, but I made it through that.

"I never like to go into depth about my past, because it's the past. I'm just glad to be here now."

Johnson is married to Angela, and they have three children: Brianna, 8, Cierra, 5 and Desmond, 2.


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