Retired WR Keyshawn Johnson On Former Coach Jon Gruden, “He Messed With My Psyche”

Former WR and current analyst Keyshawn Johnson has always been outspoken. Back in 2003 when Johnson was with the Tampa Bay Bucs, his head coach Jon Gruden made the shocking decision of deactivating the flamboyant star for the last 7 games of the season because he felt the team was beeter without Johnson’s influence.

Sunday, Johnson spoke about that time on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown

“When your psyche is messed with, and you don’t want to be around the organization or team, you just want to do whatever you can to get out of there,” Johnson said. “And that was the situation when I was under Coach Gruden in Tampa.”

“I didn’t want to be there,” Johnson said. “I didn’t want to be in the environment. No matter we had just won a championship, and I was playing fine the year that I got deactivated, I was doing great.”

“In fact, we had a chance to go to the playoffs, but it was just something about the way I was being coached, talked to, dealt with. Just didn’t want to be there. So for me, I was happy when I got the phone call that said, ‘Hey, we’re going to deactivate you for the rest of the year.’ I was excited. I was like, ‘Oh, cool, no problem. I don’t have to be around this because my health is more important.’ Going into a building and not wanting to be there, it was just a blessing to me to be able to go to Dallas. Heck, even before I went to Dallas I was talking to the Arizona Cardinals. Now think about that. I just wanted to get out of Tampa.”

This is coming from the guy that wrote “Just give me the damn ball”, an autobiography, after only 2 years in the league. But when a player and coach end up on different pages, it’s almost impossible to keep those relationships on track AND have a winning franchise. I wonder if Gruden responds