Buccaneers defensive end George Johnson an avid dog show enthusiast
When he is away from football, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end George Johnson may engage in one of the most unique hobbies in his spare time: He competes in dog shows.
In a Yahoo Sports piece that profiles his out-of-the-ordinary hobby — at least for a professional football player — Johnson discusses his love of the pastime and how he got into dog shows in the first place.
Johnson first developed an affinity for dog show culture as a junior at Rutgers. Unable to afford the financial aspect and short on time, Johnson only engaged in it sporadically with the dog he had at the the time, an American pit bull named Lupe. He recalled how much he stuck out and the difficult time he had his first few times competing at shows.
“I was big and tall, sometimes my dog was out of control and theirs were very well handled … I went to my first show with Lupe and he was completely over-matched. I thought to myself ‘This might not be the best fit for us.’ I was in college, didn’t have the resources to keep up with it.”
Now with an NFL salary at his discretion and an offseason where he has free time — he admits to watching dog shows quite a bit in his spare time — Johnson works between 15 and 20 minutes per day with his two American bullies: Pepper, a female, and Mambo, a male.
Johnson says his teammates admire him for his unconventional hobby, although it’s difficult for him to work with his dogs much during the season, but “Dog Show Season” coincides with the NFL offseason, so that helps.
When asked if he gets more nervous for games or shows, Johnson’s response may be surprising.
“One of the shows,” he said. “Because with a show, it is like a child. You want them to do so well. You get anxious for them, you want them to do well in the show. On Sundays, I know what’s coming. I know how to prepare, I know my mentality.
“But a show? You don’t have that. I admit I get nervous before those, more than a game.”