After Ben Johnson withdrew himself from consideration for the remaining two head coaching jobs, as the Washington Commanders were in-flight to Detroit, ESPN's Adam Schefter backed up his previous assertion about the Lions offensive coordinator and the Commanders' job with this,
The next day, SI's Albert Breer reported Johnson did not knock his interview with the Commanders "out of the park." Maybe that's true, but then it doesn't make much sense for the Commanders to have flown to Detroit to meet with him a second time, does it? They did not do that with the coach they ultimately hired. Dan Quinn interviewed in D.C.
The reports from Schefter and Breer reek of an agenda from the Commanders to slander Johnson with talk of an exorbitant asking price, then slamming how he interviewed when their actions to travel to him say otherwise.
At this point Johnson's side of the story doesn't matter that much, even it would be interesting. The Commanders have to save face after not getting who everyone thought was their No. 1 guy for awhile, and maybe not their No. 2 guy either (Mike Macdonald). So pointing the finger at Johnson has been the move.
Ben Johnson was apparently not all that enamored with the Commanders
ESPN's Senior NFL writer Jason Reid had a response on Twitter to the report Johnson didn't interview well with the Commanders.
"Thread: Been tied up working, so I missed the “report” on Ben Johnson supposedly interviewing so poorly with the being the reason he informed the team he wouldn’t take the job. This is all-time banana-in-the-tailpipe stuff.
"Even as I typed that, the mental gymnastics it would take for one to … OK. In order to believe in the veracity of this “report,” and for myriad reasons I don’t, one would have to accept that the Washington contingent that flew to meet Johnson for another interview did so knowing it would not offer him the job."
Reid went on to add how Quinn flew commercially and was spotted by a reporter, which teams don't like to risk happening to a top candidate.
In response to Reid's lengthy thread, ESPN's Jenna Laine added how she was told Johnson was "turned off" by the Commanders. She also heard Johnson "didn't interview well", for whatever it's worth.
Commanders' principal owner Josh Harris also owns the Philadelphia 76ers, but Johnson's apparent dismissal of the Commanders' new ownership as purely "basketball guys" isn't very fair on its own.
That said, it's nice to see some common sense from Reid about the flimsy agenda from the Commanders to slander Johnson. And the report from Laine saying Johnson wasn't all that impressed with them either is a glimpse into his side of the story.
It is indeed "he said, he said" here. But it's becoming less and less shocking that Johnson decided to shun the Commanders and stay with the Lions one more year.