Edgard-born Packer’s parents enjoying ride to Super Bowl

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 29, 2011



LAPLACE – A little less than a week removed from winning the NFC Championship game with the Green Bay Packers and punching his ticket to Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium, fullback Quinn Johnson of Edgard will likely say he is starting to return to his regular game day focus.

The same cannot be said for Johnson’s parents, Merita Johnson and Arthur Johnson, who are still sky high knowing their son will play in the National Football League’s biggest game.

“It is very unreal at this point,” Merita Johnson said. “I didn’t see this coming. He is only in his second year in the league.”

Merita said the phone at her Edgard home has been ringing off the hook since last Sunday, when Quinn and the Packers beat the Chicago Bears to win the NFC Championship.

“From the time I wake up to the time I finally go to bed, that phone keeps ringing,” Merita said. “It has been constant. So many people want to wish him luck and find out about tickets.”

Both Merita and Arthur, who regularly make trips up to Green Bay to watch Quinn play in person, were in attendance Sunday in the brutal cold of Chicago’s historic Soldier Field. Both said the magnitude of the event didn’t quite hit them until the end of the game.

“That final interception that sealed the deal, that’s about when I realized that it was going to happen,” Arthur said. “Green Bay was playing well, but Chicago was starting to come back. It didn’t feel good until you knew it was over.”

Although she has gone to several of Quinn’s games during his career, Merita admits that she had never been a big sports fan until her son started playing on bigger and bigger stages. She said Quinn is helping her get into it more.

“I have had no choice but to learn to get into it,” Merita said. “I want to watch him play and do well. He has such a passion for it.”

Coming out of LSU, Quinn was rated as the third best fullback in the 2009 NFL Draft. He was selected by Green Bay in the fifth round as the 145th overall player. Merita said it didn’t matter to Quinn where he played, only that he was given the opportunity to go on to the next level.

“Quinn never sat and watched football on Sundays,” Merita said. “Wherever he was picked is where he would be happy.”

The Johnsons said they have enjoyed the Green Bay experience since the very beginning. Merita explained that the Packers conducted a family orientation for new draft picks in which relatives went for a weekend for tours and an explanation of how things will go.

“That is something no other team in the league does,” Merita said. “Being that it is such a small town, they do their best to treat the newcomers like family.”

Arthur said the atmosphere on game days in Green Bay is always energetic and friendly.

“Everyone is a Green Bay Packer fan up there, and that is all they talk about all year long,” Arthur said. “People paint their houses in green and yellow. You must be a fan if you live there.”

Merita said Quinn enjoys the small town life that Green Bay offers and said he has made many friends up there. But she added he is never hesitant to come back home.

“He is always back here in the off season, and he does a lot of back and forth,” Merita said. “He goes to church with us, and I cook him meals to take back with him.”

Arthur added that Quinn has also been involved in various football camps in the region and participates in charity events here, including the annual Rudolph Dinvaut Golf Tournament.

“He plays all those video games, and he’s a pretty big bowler,” Arthur said. “I couldn’t tell you whether he is good or not.”

Coming out of West St. John High School in 2004, where he played both fullback and linebacker and won a state championship, Quinn was recruited by several colleges across the nation.

But Merita said her son had his heart set on one from the very beginning.

“He really wanted to go to LSU, and he never gave it a second thought,” Merita said. “It was in his mind his entire senior year, and once they made him an offer, he knew he wanted to be there.”

Former LSU coach Nick Saban recruited Quinn as a linebacker, and he played two seasons at the position before converting to fullback. He played in 40 games for the Tigers and won a national championship with the team in 2007.

Although she has watched Quinn play the game he loves for most of his life, Merita still gets nervous during every play he is on the field and rarely ever goes into a game without thinking he could lose.

“I’m always scared and nervous about how it will turn out,” Merita said. “I want him to do well and compete hard, but you don’t know what could happen. I’m just glad he enjoys what he does.”

Nervousness aside, Quinn may have the fates in his corner, considering the fact that his championships seem to come every four years.

The West St. John State Championship came in 2003, the SEC and National Championships at LSU came in 2007, and now, in 2011, Quinn is playing for the Super Bowl.

“I certainly hope that holds true,” Merita said.