Even though Jack Johnson had to move from Los Angeles to Columbus and left a potential playoff team for one with zero chance at the postseason, what happened on Thursday made it all worthwhile.
Johnson got to meet his boyhood idol, former Ohio State linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer.
“I was like, ‘holy [crap],'” Johnson told the Columbus Dispatch. “He was the man. He had the mirrored visor and the tattoos. This was the coolest thing ever.”
Katzenmoyer — aka “The Big Kat” — became the first-ever Buckeye to win the Butkus Award (in 1997), given annually to the top linebacker in college football. He was a consensus All-American that year and later taken in the first round of the NFL Draft by New England, only to have his professional career cut short by a neck injury.
Clearly, Johnson loved the guy…even though he grew up in Michigan and played hockey for the Wolverines. In fact, Johnson still has his No. 45 Katzenmoyer jersey.
“I love football,” Johnson said. “Obviously I rooted for Michigan, but I’ve always liked certain players. Same with hockey. You have your favorite teams but you have your favorite players. I was 12, 13 years old. I didn’t care.”
As for Big Kat, he wanted to meet Johnson after reading how big a fan the Blue Jackets defenseman is. Speaking of the Blue Jackets, Katzenmoyer says he’s a fan.
“I’ve wanted to get season tickets but I just haven’t had the time,” he said. “But I try to catch 40 or 50 games on TV each year. I keep in touch.”
In case you’re wondering, Katzenmoyer now runs an eponymous workout facility in Ohio.