|'If people don't like me, they don't like winners'
By Keyshawn Johnson
Special to ESPN.com
Tuesday was something called Media Day. Who invented that anyway? Everyone warned me about it, so I sort of knew what to expect. But what a trip.
In one corner is some guy dressed up like Don King. Some other dude is asking questions with a puppet on his hand. And I got a guy screaming at me that Charles Barkley wants my mother's secret recipe for fried chicken, which ain't happenin', I answer, because she'd kill me.
But I had to laugh. Besides the crowd filled with dudes that look like they just came from Venice Beach, everybody -- and I mean everybody -- wanted to know the same things over and over:
I made the statement that if someone doesn't like me, it means that person has problems with himself. I saw everyone start that little murmur, like: "There he goes again." But look at it -- it's true. I haven't done drugs. I haven't been arrested -- at least not in 15 years. I don't beat people up. If people don't like me, it means they don't like a player who has worked very, very hard ever since I was a kid to get where I am today -- here getting ready to play in the Super Bowl, which, even as I write it, gives me a feeling that I'm unable to describe.
I have always played football with one purpose: to win. Let me say this loud and clear: I don't care about scoring touchdowns. I care more about moving the chains. And if that means throwing a block to get someone 15 yards instead of six, I'm there. Anytime.
The only time I ever say I should have gotten the ball more is when we lose, because I feel like I could have done more to help us get the W. In just about every athletic situation I've been in, I've been the go-to guy, I've come up with big plays and I've made things happen. It's what's got us places, won us championships -- high school, Pop Warner, you name it. That's what I do. So if people don't like me, they don't like winners. Same thing. End of story.
Jon Gruden got in today and I think that made everyone feel better and even more ready to go at the same time. He's a guy with hard-core energy and we've fed off it all year. He's probably one of the most competitive coaches I've ever had -- even in little things like he always has to have the last word.
You think I'm mouthy? I can't even tell you how many times this year I've had to let him get in his last little smart-ass comment and then I've just walked away. It's kept the peace. Everyone seems to think there's some problem with me and him because I'm in his ear all the time and sometimes he's back in mine. I've always been that way -- I was like that with Parcells -- it just took Gruden and me a while to fit onto the same page. He didn't know much about me in the beginning, but he learned.
I slept some on the plane, and Monday night a bunch of us went over to John Lynch's house in Del Mar, not too far from where we're staying, to hang out with him and his family. It was a great feeling to be back in California and playing in the biggest game of my life. I'm going to try to hide a little now that Media Day is over and stay relaxed but start getting focused.
My family and friends start coming in tomorrow, and I'm going to have to try to keep them all happy and find about 100 tickets to the game. It's funny -- when I was growing up in LA, my brother and I used to scalp tickets to make money for our family. Now, I'm trying to buy tickets from the same people I used to hang outside of the L.A. Coliseum with.
Wednesday, we get back on the practice field. I can't wait.
Keyshawn Johnson is filing a daily diary during Super Bowl week exclusively for ESPN.com