Lane Johnson told us on Friday that he wrestled bears “in his spare time” growing up. Only to say that he made the whole thing up minutes later. Interesting way to introduce yourself to Philadelphia.
“I thought it would be a good joke, people may think we do that down in Texas, but it wasn’t. Sorry if I led you all the wrong way,” he said.
His father-in-law hinted that the story may have been a bit exaggerated shortly after his boy’s press conference was through. It was hogs that he would mix it up with. Donning a cowboy hat and with his words drenched in a deep Texas accent, James Evans talked to a group of attentive reporters about life in the small town of Groveton.
“We’ve always run hogs,” said Evans. “We live on a ranch. We’ve always had dogs who chase the hogs. Catch ‘em, cut ‘em, turn ‘em loose. Then go kill ‘em later on and go eat the bacon and the ham. The dog would catch ‘em and we would jump in there, grab ‘em, and tie them up. I’m sure that’s where it’s coming from. You’re not really wrestlin’ them…well I guess you are, because if you can’t get around the head, they’ll kill you.”
All details of this story are suspect at this point, but Johnson said yes, he did wrestle hogs — some of them as big as 500 pounds.
Evans said that he is a former high school coach and preached to Johnson that “you have to have an attitude if you’re going to be any good. Either they’re going to get you or you’re going to get them.” Johnson has three step-brothers (he’s the second-youngest out of the group) and the normal boy roughhousing helped toughen him up as well.
Groveton is a lumber company town and a county seat. You either work for the state, you’re a teacher, you work for the government or you’re a ranger.
“That’s all there is there,” said Evans.
They do have bears, apparently. But they don’t go around wrestling them — not even the 6-6, 300-pounders who look like they can do just that.
Johnson first dropped the story right before the draft, saying he would wrestle the “smaller, more puny black bears” that would tear up the garbage. The story was pretty detailed.
“Adding more taste to the supper, I guess,” he said.