‘That Hump energy’: Cardinals’ Paris Johnson Jr. embracing chance to lead in Year 2

May 29, 2024, 7:30 PM | Updated: May 31, 2024, 12:37 pm

TEMPE — Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Paris Johnson Jr. has always aspired to be a captain.

Despite being the top tackle prospect in high school, he was passed over after transferring ahead of his senior year.

A top tackle talent at the college level, that honor again eluded the former Ohio State Buckeye.

But with Johnson entering Year 2 as the team’s starting left tackle in place of former captain D.J. Humphries, could this finally be the time Johnson dons the “C”?

“That is a goal of mine,” Johnson said Tuesday. “Literally my whole life I wanted to be an NFL team captain, like specifically NFL. I wasn’t a captain in high school, I wasn’t a captain in college. I made a joke when I was in high school. I was like, ‘Dude, I feel like I’m not going to be a captain until I get to the NFL.’

“That would be awesome. If it happens that’d be great, but if not … I want to assume a role as a captain from the respect of the guys on the team.”

When it comes to leading within Arizona’s locker room, Johnson had a good examples in the four-time captain in Humphries.

Their time blocking opposite ends of the line was cut short, however, after Humphries went down with a torn ACL late in the year before eventually getting released earlier in the offseason.

Despite their short time as teammates, the energy Humphries brought to the offensive line room and throughout the rest of the team made a lasting impact on Johnson.

He’ll now look to emulate that same type of hype.

“I feel like everybody leads in their own way,” Johnson said. “I’ve talked to Hump about this recently. What I want to do for the room is I want to bring that Hump energy that he brought. He brought a lot of energy, excitement and happiness in the room. It was just his natural energy to where I only had to focus on me. I didn’t have to make sure other guys weren’t feeling some type of way when they came in here, because Hump brought that.

“But now that Hump’s not here, I want to be that guy to make sure everybody’s amped to go to practice. Everybody’s hyped when we’re talking the field for team period on a low day or something. … I want to bring that energy. I want to bring more guys to do that.”

Johnson hasn’t wasted any time filling the void Humphries’ release left behind, either, spending more time with like-minded leaders like James Conner and Kyler Murray this offseason in addition to getting closer to the offensive line room.

Knowing he had Humphries in the room last year, Johnson “kind of pulled off” on being a leader as a rookie.

But with a season under his belt and Humphries’ patented guide on leading, Johnson is embracing the chance at being one of the main voices within Arizona’s locker room for years to come.

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