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Cal Football

Injured Defensive Lineman Brett Johnson Updates His Status

July 21, 2021
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Cal defensive lineman Brett Johnson, whose career was interrupted when he sustained a severe hip injury in an auto accident this spring, says he “feels good” and is happy with his rehab progress.

“I am building up my muscles back,” he said Wednesday in his first public statements since the crash. “I am doing rehab, making sure I get my hips strong again so I can get on the field soon.”

Just how soon is anybody’s guess right now. The original prognosis was that the 6-5, 300-pound junior would be sidelined until 2022. On Wednesday he did not rule out playing at some point this season.

Cal DL Brett Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We don’t have any specific timeline for it yet,” he said. “But I am improving and I will be back on the field as soon as possible.”

In a Zoom call with the Bay Area media, Johnson confirmed that his fellow D-lineman Luc Bequette, who transferred to Boston College last summer when the Pac-12 announced it was canceling the 2020 fall season, is back on campus and hopes to rejoin the Bears in the fall for a last go-round.  There has been no official word yet, but his return seems a foregone conclusion,

Johnson’s primary injury was a broken hip and he has been concentrating on keeping his upper body strong and taking it easy, for now, on his legs.

“Right now I am doing full upper body work,” he said. “Making sure to get my upper body muscles back and very minimal lower body with the strength staff.”

Of course, there is some pain involved, but Johnson is not one to let a few aching body parts slow him down. “I am working through minimal discomfort,” he said. “There are still things that give me some issues but nothing that is not going to be overcome soon enough.”

Of course, he must deal with the mental part of not being a full participant. Johnson says he is coping.

“It has not been that difficult to stay optimistic, honestly,” he said. “It has been disappointing, a bummer that I won’t be able to have a successful year. But I still am improving, I am still working, I still have a lot of hope that there is a lot of brightness in the future.

“Everyone has injuries in this sport. Some people get worse injuries than others. I have talked to a number of guys who have gotten hurt. They all say the same thing to me, ‘Don’t dwell on the negativity of it, don’t dwell on the accident. Just continue to improve.’ And that’s where we are right now.”

Johnson is giving advice, counsel, and some coaching to the younger defensive linemen while he is incapacitated. He is also glad to see that Bequette is back in town. 

“I think it’s great,” he said. “Luc was a great friend to me my freshman year when I first got here. He definitely showed me the ropes. He was one of the older guys who was assigned to me, to help me find my way through Berkeley. A super nice guy, great player, obviously. Good person to have in the locker room.”

While he works on his rehab, Johnson has also adjusted his appearance.  Gone are the shoulder-length locks that he sported much of the time, and what was occasionally a beard of various lengths is now the makings of a handlebar mustache that would look good in any barbershop quartet.

“I have been able to grow a mustache for a while then it gets a little scraggly. I'll get tired of it and shave it off,” he said, recounting his history with facial hair. “I just decided to let my mustache grow super-long and just keep it and maintain it, I am more interested in the process, the specificities of mustaches that I never was aware of before. But I am getting familiar with them.”

As for the hair, which had to be cut for hygienic reasons when Johnson was hospitalized, “It will be back, I guarantee it.”

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Discussion from...

Injured Defensive Lineman Brett Johnson Updates His Status

1,718 Views | 5 Replies | Last: 8 days ago by Cal8285
chazzed
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Thanks for the update on young Johnson. May he fully recover from his injury.
GivemTheAxe
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chazzed said:

Thanks for the update on young Johnson. May he fully recover from his injury.

I know the player really wants to play as soon as possible but I would err on the side of giving him more time to heal. I remember what happened to Nate Longshore when he came back too soon. His early return did not help either the team or himself
BearoutEast67
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Glad to hear the great news about his recovery - what a great young player he's been.
Marty
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I agree. Especially with Bequette back, and with the steadily improving recruiting beginning to pay off in terms of depth. The kid needs to heal totally so that he can return next year at full strength and health. He has an opportunity to be drafted, so he needs to keep the long term in mind. I haven't heard about Maldonado, but if he can come back healthy, along with Bequette that's two solid, experienced interior linemen they'll be adding.
Cal8285
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GivemTheAxe said:

chazzed said:

Thanks for the update on young Johnson. May he fully recover from his injury.

I know the player really wants to play as soon as possible but I would err on the side of giving him more time to heal. I remember what happened to Nate Longshore when he came back too soon. His early return did not help either the team or himself
Based on what I've seen in the Wilcox era, I wouldn't worry too much about a player getting back on the field too early.

In the case of Longshore, his injury wasn't anywhere near healed yet. It was pretty disgusting, Longshore's first game back was at the Rose Bowl against the Bruins, and I had a pretty close up view of him on the sidelines. He had trouble walking. Longshore had exactly the attitude Tedford wanted, Longshore wanted to play through the injury, but Tedford should have said no. It was absurd for him to be playing on that ankle, and he aggravated it at times, especially against ASU. Longshore was nowhere near healed, much less rehabbed.

I have confidence in Wilcox and his staff making sure that a player is not only sufficiently healed, but sufficiently in condition to play before letting him back on the field. Let's hope we never see anything like Longshore again under any Cal coaching staff.

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