Ex-NFL Tackle “Tank” Johnson to Rookies: You Don’t Need Guns. Except When You Do

Is it profiling to suggest that people who play defensive tackle in the NFL are unlikely to be candidates for the MacArthur Fellows Program? If these highly paid athletes were even somewhat cerebral before they started butting heads with 300-pound competitors I imagine they lost of some of that intellectual firepower after a season or two. I make this point in reference to former Chicago Bears player Terry “Tank” Johnson. According to buffalonews.com, the eminently indictable Mr. Johnson offered some distinctly dopey Bob Costas-compatible advice to rookie players at 2013 NFL Rookie Symposium. Copies of Plato’s work by the same name may have been a bit thin on the ground, but Tank had plenty to say about “firearms, guns, gats, straps, all that stuff.” Hang on. This is good . . .

Johnson, the Chicago Bears’ second-round draft choice in 2004, was arrested multiple times for unlicensed weapons.

“The main thing that caused me those troubles, coming from Phoenix and moving to Chicago,” Johnson said, “was bringing a car full of my guns, thinking it was going to be sweet like it was in Phoenix, where you can buy an AK-47 at Circle K.”

While on probation in December 2006, authorities found in Johnson’s home six guns, including a loaded AR-15 assault rifle hanging from his bedpost.

To Johnson’s credit, he didn’t blame his problems on ignorance of Illinois’ gun regulations.

I’m not quite sure what to do with that statement. Is the writer stating that Tank was or was not ignorant of the law? Note: we are talking about Chicago here. And leaving a loaded AR-15 “assault rifle” hanging from the bedpost certainly puts Tank in the running for our Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day. Anyway . . .

“While you’re playing in the NFL, you do not need a firearm for any reason,” Johnson said. “The NFL does a great job of putting these resources around you where you don’t need a firearm.”

Resources like . . . armed guards? Wait for it . . .

“Having a gun is not going to help you when that moment comes if you’re not trained on how to use that gun.”

Although not discussed today, Johnson was with bodyguard William Posey when Posey was shot to death at a Chicago nightclub. It happened the same week as the raid on Johnson’s home, where Posey also was arrested.

The NFL suspended Johnson in 2007. A condition of his reinstatement involved not owning any guns as long as he was an active player.

Johnson told a story about how he wished he was armed when he confronted two men burglarizing his car.

“At this point, I’m terrified,” Johnson said. “If I had my gun, I would have been ready. It would have gone down, whatever. It was fixing to gown down.”

Johnson said he went to purchase a Glock .40 the next day, but while he was waiting in line decided to call NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who told him, “Tank, put the gun down.” The NFL offered to put security detail at Johnson’s house instead.

“If you have a firearm handy, sometimes that can compound your troubles,” Johnson said. “Somebody could piss you off, and you could look over and see your gun and think ‘Oh, I’m just going to scare them.’ That alone can put you in jail for a long time.”

Yup. Just thinking about scaring someone with a gun is a crime in Chicago. Which means Tank has just committed a gun crime. D’oh!


  1. avatar Gtfoxy says:

    I do not even know where to begin…

    Wow. ..
    I mean, what total absurdity & hypocrisy obscured in defamation of intellect.

  2. avatar William Burke says:

    ” It was fixing to gown down.”

    Is this about his graduation ceremony for It?

  3. avatar JoshinGA says:

    Professional football players are not exactly a bastion of intelligence…

  4. avatar SgtR says:

    Had a little trouble staying on message there, didn’t he?

    1. avatar Jim says:

      Pretty much. I wonder if he is getting paid for his appearance. Got to stay in the good graces if you want the gravy to continue to flow. For a retired player, the gravy pit pretty much has run dried.

  5. avatar 505markf says:

    Since I am not 300 pounds and able to rip a typical sofa in half, I will follow my own guidance for self-defense. The only armed defense I have when push comes to shove, or when it’s “gown down”, is myself and my family members. And maybe a couple of my neighbors. Yeah, I might hand out a couple of surplus Mausers to a few of them if the SHTF. Unless the time comes when I can pick up surplus Korean M1 Carbines for $200-300 each. Hmm…

    1. avatar jwm says:

      If your neighbers need to be armed they probably have little experience with firearms. Bolt guns like the mauser are probably better for them than semi autos. Just my opinion.

      1. avatar 505markf says:

        Good thought. I take them out with me on some of my 22 days at the range. Nice BRNO and CZ bolt actions. Fun, not too noisy, and no pressure. They are not real gun folk, but enjoy shooting, just not much over a 22. Just as long as I can get them a little experience over time, because you just never know what might happen. Heck, might even turn them into semi-pro gun people. that would be nice. Semi-auto would indeed be a longer learning curve. Good suggestion.

  6. avatar mediocrates says:

    these are the same group of smart guys who want to sue the NFL for giving themselves concussions, with a little help from the lawyer-caste.

  7. avatar Ralph says:

    His nickname is “Tank,” not “Cerebrum.”

    1. avatar DDay says:

      True dat

  8. avatar KevinMA says:

    Reading between the lines what the man is saying is “Hell YES! I want to be armed and everyone else should be too. However, the NFL and Chicago parole board are making me tell you differently so I can keep my job and not go to jail.”

    Same thing as back in the ’90’s when all the Rock Stars that got busted for drugs had to appear in “Rock Against Drugs” commercials.

    1. avatar great unknown says:

      +1. Bingo.

      And supposedly the NFL is now in negotiations with Sibelius to shill for Obamacare.

    2. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

      exactly – this is a REQUIREMENT of his probation/parole . . . .he has to preach the gospel as expressly written or he is screwed . . . . . we can ignore him, esp when the NFL is not providing my family with the same level of security, which is precisely why I don’t go/pay for anything related to pro athletes, the paid whores they are. I am not subsidizing their poor lifestyle decisions.

      1. avatar LongBeach says:

        So… If for example the computer (or whatever) business a person works for asks them to speak at a conference and to endorse a product/procedure, even one that said employee doesn’t necessarily like, is that person a whore?

  9. avatar Jeff O. says:

    Okay, where’s Moron? Okay, Moron’s here, so McKeesport…

  10. avatar nemsis says:

    I guess it’s true some people shouldn’t have a gun.

    1. avatar JMS says:

      Yes. They think things like, “Somebody could piss you off, and you could look over and see your gun and think ‘Oh, I’m just going to scare them.’ “ If you lack emotional and mental control to this degree, you probably should not own a firearm or any other dangerous objects.

  11. avatar Hal says:

    Okay, so my list of douchey groups that I don’t accept life advice from has now expanded to include professional athletes.

    1. avatar Loyd says:

      I don’t discriminate. I hate all groups equally. Some more equally.

  12. avatar Ropingdown says:

    Tank’s description of the motivation for his advice reminds me of a sex-ed talk we were given in high school, which went roughly like this: “Wait until you are 21 to have sex. Wait until you are married. I’m warning you: I know from experience that if you have sex at 16 it’s just so good, so exciting, so wonderful that you just can’t give it up. And you don’t want that to happen to you. Do you?”

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Sec at 16? Good, exciting, wonderful and quick. Very quick.

      1. avatar Ropingdown says:

        Sure, but it took soooo long to get to that ‘quick.’

  13. avatar Jason says:

    While on probation in December 2006, authorities found in Johnson’s home six guns, including a loaded AR-15 assault rifle [sic] hanging from his bedpost

    1) How did he not get a ten year sentence for having guns while on parole, including a gun that’s illegal in Chicago?
    2) As a convicted felon, isn’t he on the NICS no-no list? Which would make owning any gun in the future illegal.

    1. avatar SgtR says:

      Probation, not parole. Presumably his original offense wasn’t a felony (just guessing here, I don’t know).

      Now, about those weapons charges. Being an A-list celebrity no doubt allowed him avoid a lengthy prison sentence, and may have helped him to plea down to some kind of lesser offense.

      In other words: kids, don’t try this at home. Especially if “home” is Chicago.

  14. avatar Joke & Dagger says:

    I await in breathless anticipation the next atom bomb of knowledge an (ex) NFL player will drop on us ignorant ticket buyers.

  15. avatar JB1000 says:

    So if every rookie in the NFL asked for the same security detail this guy was offered, the NFL would have no trouble with hiring a few thousand security guards for players who might make the field six plays a game? Somehow, I think not.

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