The Washington Redskins went from having one of their best football seasons in years to losing four games straight after a slew of injuries left the team scrambling to find a quarterback to take the field.
After losing Alex Smith to a brutal leg injury on November 18, and then back up quarterback Colt McCoy suffering the same fate just last week on December 3, the now 6-7 team quickly signed Josh Johnson to their roster, who evidently wasn’t quite sure who he would be tossing the football with when he arrived in Washington last week. According to Sports Illustrated, the 32-year-old NFL veteran turned to a video game to help learn who his new teammates are.
Shortly after the Skins suffered their fourth loss in a row to the New York Giants on December 9, NBC Sports Washington reporter Brian McNally wrote on his Twitter that Johnson revealed he “legitimately had to play Madden” just to be able to properly address his teammates by their names.
The official Twitter account for EA Sports, which produces the popular video game, confirmed the reporter’s claim, joking that Josh Johnson had in fact enrolled in “Madden 101” earlier last week after officially becoming a Washington Redskin.
Josh Johnson said he was playing in a charity basketball game in Oakland last Sunday and legitimately had to play Madden this week just to learn teammates’ names. #Redskins— Brian McNally (@bmcnally14) December 9, 2018
It seemed to be a pretty effective strategy, as Johnson took to the field at his new home stadium of FedEx Field during the third quarter to relieve Mark Sanchez, leading his team to two touchdown drives after the scoreboard previously held a big goose egg for the Redskins through a grueling first half.
The team was still defeated 40-16 in yet another disappointment for loyal Washington fans, but the new quarterback proved his worth, as Sports Illustrated reported that Redskins head coach Jay Gruden already named Johnson as the starter for their game against the Jacksonville Jaguars next week on December 16.
We can confirm that Josh Johnson had enrolled in Madden 101 earlier this week. https://t.co/SI9LgBTikl— #WeAreMadden (@EAMaddenNFL) December 9, 2018
Johnson came to Washington just last week after a long history of being signed and cut by 11 NFL teams throughout his career in the sport, NBC Sports Washington reported. On top of playing his sport’s virtual counterpart to learn his new teammates’ names, he spent most of his days before taking the field in meetings, trying to quickly memorize the playbook.
But despite a wild and crazy week trying to prepare for his return to football, Johnson still enjoyed every minute of it.
“Felt fun. It felt fun. I was just really embracing the opportunity,” he said. “When you don’t get to play this game and you love this game then you really appreciate every opportunity that you get. And so I just wanted to enjoy it. And that’s how I’m taking it every day. Come to work. Practice. Weight room. Whatever. Just enjoy it. I’m 32. I’m 32. Just enjoy it.”