Eyebrows were raised as football fans scanned their news feeds to find their favorite sports media outlets casually referring to Cory “Poop” Johnson as the newly-signed defensive tackle for the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts, Sports Illustrated reports. The announcement, which quickly found viral acclaim on social media, can be traced back to the CFL’s press release for the signing, which was nonchalantly titled “Argos Ink Defensive Tackle Cory ‘Poop’ Johnson,” when it was distributed Wednesday.
The nickname apparently dates back several years to “Poop” Johnson’s time with the University of Kentucky, where he would typically weigh in at between 280 and 300 pounds. When given an opportunity to appear on a local television station to discuss the university’s preseason training, Johnson was remarkably candid.
“I guess because I poop so much,” Johnson said in an interview with WLEX-TV. “I try to poop like five times a day, three times a day. It’s hard to keep weight when you’ve got so much going out.”
The amusing interview clip went viral, earning Johnson the nickname “Poop” among his friends and teammates. When asked later how he felt about the nickname, Johnson was in good humor.
“The name kind of warmed up to me,” he said in a 2014 interview with the Courier-Journal. “Once I leave my legacy, and when they show the highlights, it’s going to be Poop Johnson. I like it.
It’s worth mentioning that there seems to be a lot more to Johnson than a meme-friendly nickname, with the defensive tackle showing promise in his early days with the CFL. Now age 26, Johnson has played 25 games across two seasons with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, racking up 28 tackles and five sacks. He has spent off-seasons training the two NFL franchises: the Atlanta Falcons and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Prior to joining the CFL with the Blue Bombers, Johnson put up impressive statistics during two seasons at UK, including 77 tackles, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery in the course of 18 games.
Johnson comes to the Argonauts as they look to beef up their defensive line, which it was also announced will include Shawn Lemon and Tobi Antigha. In what may or may not have been a deliberate attempt to leave Poop’s legacy behind, the Argo’s press release, unlike the CFL’s, referred to him simply as Cory Johnson.
In addition to the social media buzz around the unlikely nickname, Johnson’s fame perhaps peaked as part of a late night segment on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.