Coming off of a hamstring injury that has kept him out of action since August 2, Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson is just now getting back on the practice field.
He is set to make his preseason debut on August 24, when the Bills face the Washington Redskins in both teams' third preseason game of the year.
With Johnson back, the time is now for him to take one of the roles that a young team like Buffalo needs him to take. He needs to become a leader in the clubhouse.
Entering his seventh year in the league, Johnson is one of the most experienced players in Buffalo's receiving corps.
The only player with more experience is ninth-year man Brad Smith, who has a bigger concern than being a leader on the team. He's got to worry about making the roster.
In the case of Johnson, he's the Bills' number one receiver, and he is the only one slated to start the season in the top four with more than two years of experience. Needless to say, the younger players are sure to look to a guy like Johnson for advice on making it.
And who better is there on this team to give advice on what to do to make it in this league? Johnson was a seventh round pick out of Kentucky in 2008, and in six years became the team's top target due to his work ethic and talent level.
Johnson has to be ready and willing to give advice when players come to him. At the same time, he should go out of his way to make sure all the young guns know what needs to be done.
Buffalo has four rookies vying for a spot in Buffalo's final receiver rotation, and a player at the level of Johnson's should be able to show the kids the ropes.
He needs to be a mentor. He needs to show them what to do on the field, and what not to do off of it, if he wants to be a successful member of the team.
It's all about getting everyone to mesh with one another so the team can get positive results, and Johnson is just the type of person to do that. He has a brazen personality who may rub some the wrong way at times, but he means well and has the respect of his peers.
It's just up to him to fully embrace the role that the team needs.