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Lane Johnson: Bengals interview 'weirdest meeting I've ever' had

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

With the 2013 NFL Combine in the rearview mirror, we'll now start to hear stories about the things teams asked players. Like one team asking Colorado tight-end prospect Nick Kasa if he "liked girls."

Or Oklahoma lineman Lane Johnson -- who is being regularly mocked in the first round -- and his meeting with the Bengals, who told him to remember and repeat random things and numbers, which Johnson called "the weirdest meeting" he's ever been in.

“One thing caught me off guard. I was meeting with Cincinnati, and I went in there and they told me to remember five things. They just listed five things like a bear, a flower, a tree, a man and like a dog," Johnson said on The Mighty 1090 in San Diego. "And they told me to remember those terms, at the end of the meeting to see if I could remember them. And from that point on, they listed numbers. They said, like, 9167, and then told me to repeat them in reverse order.

"So that was probably the weirdest meeting I've ever been a part of."

Reason No. 3,405,465 I'd never make it in the NFL? At the end of the meeting, I definitely would've made a ManBearPig joke, which I'm sure both Marvin Lewis and Mike Brown would've found hysterical.

The Bengals' setup does have me curious, though. They've always been mocked for their frugal scouting methods, but Cincy's been on fire lately in the draft and in player acquisition. Is this bizarre memory stuff part of some new Moneyball-esque scouting approach? Is it the same thing they've been doing forever? Is this the sort of thing they do with every single prospect? Do they do this for 15 minutes?

It can't be something that happens all that regularly -- Johnson said he worked with a former GM in advance of the interviews so he'd be better set up to talk with teams at the combine.

“At Oklahoma we're kind of used to talking in front of the media. We've had media trainers," Johnson said. "As far as the interviews, I actually met with Ken Herock, who was an ex-GM for the Falcons. So we basically did mock interviews and he told us basically what was going to be going on in those meetings, and what kind of things to expect. So I kind of had an idea of what to expect heading to the combine."

Johnson also said he was a little disappointed with his bench press (just 28 reps), but he shouldn't be too worried about his overall combine performance. He posted the second-fastest time among all linemen in the 40 (a blazing 4.72) the second-best vertical jump (34 inches), the best broad jump (118 inches), the second-fastest time on the cone drill (7.31 seconds) and a top-five time in the 20-yard shuttle.

Now if only he can remember "bear, flower, tree, man, dog."

 
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