Kierrie a key part of Lions offence 0
Kierrie Johnson celebrates his touchdown during the Grey Cup in November. The Lions receiver will look to play a bigger role with the offence this season. (REUTERS)
The last time fans saw B.C. Lions' Kierrie Johnson, he was scoring the winning points in the Grey Cup at BC Place.
The wide receiver's 66-yard touchdown in the third quarter of the big game was his first major score in the CFL - a moment he hasn't forgotten just yet.
"It gave me the momentum to come into this season," Johnson said Tuesday, adding the game ball and championship ring are back home in Houston at his mother's house. "It gave me greater confidence. Hopefully, (we'll) be doing it all season this year, instead of waiting until the last game."
That TD pass from quarterback Travis Lulay, which found the first-year player, gave the Leos a 24-9 lead in a game where they eventually prevailed 34-23 over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to claim the franchise's sixth league title.
But while the memorable end zone reception was the biggest of his career, the 23-year-old Johnson hopes to play an even larger role for the Lions' offence this upcoming season. A year after catching 20 passes for 235 yards and no touchdowns in the regular season, he's set some lofty goals for himself this time around.
"I want to be one of the top receivers on the team," the 5-foot-10 import said. "I want to be a greater attribute to the team as much as I can, and spread the field as much as I can with my speed because I know I'm dangerous with it."
Flanked by both veterans and young talented sophomores like himself, the Houston native complements a deep receiving corps that includes Geroy Simon, Arland Bruce, Shawn Gore, Akeem Foster, Paris Jackson, and Marco Iannuzzi. That plethora of weapons could mean opposing defence may spend less time focusing on the speedy youngster, who apparently is also known to friends as 'Swag.'
"It's definitely going to take some distraction away from me," he said. "The defence is going to have to pretty much pick and choose who they want to take away, so if they go with Geroy, then I'm going to probably be open for a big play. If I get the defence off of Geroy, he's going to have a big play going his way."
Fellow receiver Bruce says he already sees the increased confidence in Johnson as the club prepares for their season opener Friday at BC Place.
"I see him coming into his own," Bruce said. "The offence has somewhat revolved around what he can do because he's extremely fast. He believes in himself. We have that kind of nucleus where any guy can have a big game. If we build on top of that, just imagine what (we) can do. We have a great team right now but we have to capitalize on that come Friday."