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Kickin' back with Bucs cornerback Leonard Johnson

Bucs cornerback Leonard Johnson, right, learned about being a barber from his dad, Charles Harris, who is the Bucs’ team barber. Harris makes weekly visits to One Buc Place, keeping players such as receiver Tiquan Underwood looking good.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Bucs cornerback Leonard Johnson, right, learned about being a barber from his dad, Charles Harris, who is the Bucs’ team barber. Harris makes weekly visits to One Buc Place, keeping players such as receiver Tiquan Underwood looking good.

What football player did you grow up watching when you were a kid?

Barry Sanders. I grew up as a running back. I played quarterback when I got to be about 10 or 11. But from the jump, Barry Sanders got my attention.

What was it about his game that drew you in?

I'd just never really seen a player who was so versatile. He could cut it back and reverse field; all the stuff we did out in the back yard. He did whatever he needed to get into the end zone.

When you tried those moves in your youth league games, how did it go?

I think I reversed field one time, but I got cussed out by my coach. But watching Barry was always fun. You know what? I also grew up a Bucs fan, and Ronde (Barber) was in his prime. It's crazy because now I have the opportunity to be in the locker room with him, talk with him, joke around with him.

Is it a little bizarre?

Well, I'm used to it now. But at first, I was starstruck. My first three or four days, I couldn't take my eyes off him because I grew up watching him and wanting to mimic him. He's been here since the start of his career, and I just always wanted to be like Ronde.

Does he know all this?

Uh, I think he might, but I haven't really come all the way out and told him. But he knows every kid in this area who grew up watching him wants to have the kind of success he did.

You played quarterback at Largo High School. Do you ever miss it?

I really do. I made stuff happen, man. People in high school used to be so excited to come out to the games because you just never knew what to expect. We had players on our team who were gifted. I was the quarterback at 5-9. But I played big. I made my own rules up at times, but I made stuff happen.

Okay, these are my weekly questions: What's playing the most on your iPod these days?

I listen to rap music before games, but I like to stay calm and mellow. I like to think a lot. I listen to a lot of Rudy Francisco. He's a poet. I do a lot of meditation, too. I talk to myself: "I'm going to play big." I see myself doing great things. My roommate (on the road), E.J. Biggers, gets tired of hearing it. But on game day, it's (rap).

What website do you visit the most?

Definitely YouTube. I'll get bored, and I'll start watching funny videos. I'll just search for stuff and watch videos for hours.

What reality show do you watch faithfully?

I'm not a big reality TV guy, but I'm a big Family Guy fan. Me and my (college) roommate from 9 to 10 every night, that was our time. We did that for probably a year straight. I still watch it now back home. It's funny because I have a picture he sent me. He took a picture of an episode he was watching, and he sent it to me. And it so happened I was watching the same episode.

I hear your dad is a barber and taught you how to cut hair. Tell me about that.

My dad has been a barber for 27 years, and he started it going door to door on his bicycle. But when I was a kid, I hated being in the barber shop. That was my punishment: sit in the barber shop with Pops and listen to all the talk. I wanted to get out of there and play. He tried to teach me to cut hair, and I didn't want to. But the year before I went to college, I started to really pay attention. He told me, "We're low on money, and I'm not going to be able to send you much. So you can make some money cutting hair." So I get to school, and I start cutting hair. And I was shaking and everything.

I don't know if I would let you cut my hair.

Well, at first, I was cutting for free just to build my clientele. But then I got more comfortable. I started getting better at it. And by the time it was over, I was making about $150 a week. I was doing good.

Does your dad still cut hair around here?

Yeah. In fact, he's here right now.

Wait, where?

Here at One Buc Place. He's the team barber. He's cutting guys' hair right now.

. Biography

Leonard Johnson

Position: CornerbackHeight/weight: 5-10; 202

Age: 22Hometown: Clearwater

College: Iowa State; started 43 games, with 247 tackles, eight fumble recoveries and six interceptions; second-team All-Big 12 in 2011.

Pro: Undrafted, signed by the Bucs in April; has played in all seven games; made his first start and recorded first interception at Minnesota on Oct. 25.

Kickin' back with Bucs cornerback Leonard Johnson 11/02/12 [Last modified: Saturday, November 3, 2012 5:17pm]
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