Bills WR Johnson plays Jaguars with heavy heart

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 15, 2013 at 6:14 pm •  Published: December 15, 2013
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Buffalo Bills receiver Stevie Johnson could have flown home — and no one would have blamed him.

Johnson's mother died unexpectedly Saturday at her Northern California home. Rhonda Lewis was 48.

Johnson and the Bills had already arrived in Jacksonville when he heard the devastating news. He sat down with coach Doug Marrone, who gave him the option of leaving or staying for Sunday's game against the Jaguars.

Johnson decided to stay with his teammates, and he opted not to tell any of them.

"Whatever I can do to help out the team," Johnson told a small group of reporters in the hallway after the game. "I think I should give it my all no matter what. It was tough, but we got the win and I'm happy about that and I'm sure she's happy about that."

Johnson finished with one catch for 4 yards in Buffalo's 27-20 victory.

But he garnered praise from Marrone and his teammate for how he handled a difficult situation.

"It says a lot about Stevie that he decided to play," rookie quarterback EJ Manuel said. "We all look up to Stevie, especially us rookies on offense. He makes a lot of huge plays for us. He's a difference-maker on offense. It was a matter of him not wanting to be a distraction to the team or for anybody to feel bad for him. He just wanted us to go out there and get a win."

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