Derrick Johnson press conference transcript
Opening statement: First of all, I want to thank my family, my friends, coaches and teammates, The University of Texas, and the fans. I know everyone has been anxious to hear my decision. It's been a long process since after the bowl game. When I first came to Texas, my goals were to get Texas in the top 10, to be a Butkus finalist and to be an All-American. I have accomplished those goals with the help of everyone, and I think it's time for me to go to the next level for another challenge, and I will be going to the NFL.
No, I'm just kidding.
On second thought, the NFL is a life-long dream for me. It's a big accomplishment to be in this situation right now, but my goals have changed. I want to take another shot at the national championship, I want to get closer to my degree and I want to win the Butkus. By me coming back, it will better me as a person. I love the city of Austin. It's a tremendous feeling being around the Texas football team, and they just show you so much of a family atmosphere, it's hard to leave. That's why I'll be here one more year.
What kept you from making the decision earlier? I kind of knew all along that I wanted to stay, but you have the opportunity to leave, so you have to check it out and go through the process, and that's what I did.
Who did you talk to in terms of players out in San Diego with the Chargers, and what kind of input did you get? I asked LaDainian Tomlinson and (Quentin) Jammer, I talked to those guys, and they were just telling me that being in college is a great time. If you need to go to the league, you can go on and go, but don't jeopardize that, because college is a great life. They just said you have to do what's best for yourself, and they were saying that if they were me, they would stay. I'm not saying that I stayed because of what they said, but it did have an effect on my decision. I asked everyone in my family, my mom, who thought it was the best thing for me, too, to get closer to my degree.
Is there anything you need to work on? I think it would be work ethic. I've progressed in my work ethic, but that's the main part, and everything else will fall into place.
A year ago, Roy Williams had the same answer. He had all the dreams to come back for his senior year. Did it affect you that he didn't accomplish those goals? I wouldn't regret anything. Roy became a better person by staying and became a better football player. I have to do what's best for myself. It's the same decision Roy made, but if I were to go, it would have been because it was the best thing for me. I really didn't look at his decision too much because everyone has their own personal way.
Do you have any idea where you would have been drafted? Not really, you hear a lot of things. I don't even know where to start and wouldn't know.
Right now you don't have a defensive coordinator. Would it not make a difference who gets that job, as to whether you go or stay? No, I know Coach Brown will get the best possible coach available. I talked to him, and he told me he'd get the best one and get me ready for the league.
Did it surprise you that Coach Reese resigned? I was surprised that he was 60, because he acts like he's 20-something. Carl Reese is a great coach. He resigned, and Coach (Brown) is going to bring in somebody just as good as Coach Reese.
Coach Brown has been taking some heat lately, tell us something that we don't know about him that you guys see in him, because the media has a tendency to blow things out of proportion. Mack is like a father away from home. He's always going to comfort you in the bad times. Whenever you need a friend, he's there for you. He's a great person, and that's what makes him a really special guy. You can talk to him anytime.
Did you ever come to a point where you thought you were going and someone talked you out of it, or was it just a formality and you thought you were coming back? There was never a point where I really thought I was leaving. I always wanted to stay. You have to go through the process.
Was the money ever an issue? No.
What is it about this program that makes people want to stay? A family atmosphere, you feel so much at home. Three years here are good, four would be even better.
Did you let anyone know you were initially going to announce you were going to leave? No, that's all me. I made that up last night.
If this team had accomplished its goals, is it possible you would have left or would the family atmosphere you described have kept you here no matter what? I think the family atmosphere would have kept me here, regardless, even if we had won a national championship this year. Staying here four years means a lot to me, and if I can do it, I'm going to do it.
When you see defenses like LSU and Oklahoma, do you think you are in that category? I think we are. We just have to go back and correct the mistakes we made this year and go out next year and be the best defense in the nation.
How important is it to the program that you stay and become a leader? It means a great deal to me to become a leader, especially on this team. With me being a senior next year, it's going to be tremendous to be a leader. It's going to be hard. We've got a lot of good players, and you're going to have to stand with the best of them, and I've been taking on characteristics of a leader every year, and this year is my chance to be the guy to lead.