Ben Johnson addressed false narratives that surfaced during hiring cycle

Ben Johnson wound up staying with the Detroit Lions again this offseason, and he addressed the false narratives that were put out there.

Before the most recent head coach hiring cycle even started, there were two reports that Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson had a very high asking price. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the apparent asking price "spooked" some teams.

For weeks, it felt like a foregone conclusion Johnson would be the next head coach of the Washington Commanders. When they were in-flight to Detroit to interview him, as well as defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, Johnson withdrew from consideration. Headlined by Schefter and The Athletic, the media then proceeded to carry the Commanders' water to slander Johnson.

This past week at OTAs, Johnson directly outlined why he chose to stay in Detroit. To put it concisely, he's not going to leave a good situation for a situation that's far less certain if a head coaching job doesn't feel like a sustainably good fit. The question there is if his head coaching opportunities will eventually go away as long as that is his stance.

Ben Johnson addresses false narratives around him

Reports of a high, some may say exorbitant, asking price. The piece from The Athletic with anonymous comments saying he "screwed" the Commanders and that he's a "mad scientist" who'd rather stay holed up in his office creating game plans than lead a locker room. Despite the Commanders clearly wanting to interview him a second time in-person, reports he did not have a good first interview.

Johnson had his first chance to address those things when he spoke to reporters last Thursday (h/t to

"There was in my opinion some false narratives going on out there,” Johnson said. “It started towards the end of last year, before I made the decision to pull out. That comes with the territory. I’m good with that."

That's clearly a reference to the reports about his salary demands to take a head coaching job, which were flimsy from the get-go. Johnson realizes those kind of reports and what followed after he took himself out of consideration for the Commanders' job come with the territory he's in, but his family being subjected to that stuff did not sit well with him.

"That’s part of life in the NFL, so doesn’t affect me," said Johnson. "I do feel for the people around me. I hate that my family would ever read stuff that’s not necessarily the case, but they handled it really, really well. So, support staff’s there from that regard. I think I sleep well at night knowing what happened, how it happened, why it happened. I’m good there and the people that are closest to me, they know who I am and what I’m about. So, it’s all good.”

Johnson turned down the chance to fully correct the reports that were out there, simply saying "No. I'm good." It doesn't do him any good to call out the reports now anyway, however false they were. What's done is done, and he's back with the Lions for at least another year.


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