Recently the guys from The Giant Insider had a wide-ranging chat with former LA Wildcats Defensive Coordinator Pepper Johnson. They talk about where the Pepper nickname came from, Johnson’s time with the Giants and Patriots, and his very brief stint in the XFL.
Johnson was let go after one game and it left fans wondering what actually went down. When asked about what happened and why he was let go from his time as Defensive Coordinator of the LA Wildcats, his response in jest was.
“My private investigator is still trying to figure that one out. I don’t know, I really don’t know. I can be just as bad and they gave too much power to a person that really didn’t need it and could handle that much power. I can say that the guy was a little jealous of me because I never sweat, I never panic. I didn’t do anything like that.
I was giving an opportunity to be a Defensive Coordinator which I loved and jumped right on it. But I made a promise to myself, the next time I take a job I am going to interview the interviewers. To make sure I am going to a proper place. Now, I had a history with the head coach just in passing and in combines and stuff like that. I let that take over a little bit. I should have dug a little deeper.”
Johnson then goes into how it all went down.
“We played one game and he stopped me from calling plays after the first series. Three plays, they scored a touchdown on the third play, guy got beat by a terrible double move. I put a defense in so he wouldn’t get beat by a double move and the kid was a little scared. But after that, I was not allowed to use my playbook I couldn’t use my calls. He told me to call only two defenses.
There were seven turnovers and we gave up only 37 points and I get fired. If anyone can tell me why I got fired, I’d be more than happy to hear it.
In the fourth, when he(Winston Moss) gave up and the game was over, he did let me call my plays and we were three and out two straight series.
They asked who told you, you got fired.
“He (Moss) came in and fired me in the parking lot at the player’s hotel. I knew it was coming.”
Johnson talks about how he knew it was coming.
“He wouldn’t talk to me halftime and he wouldn’t talk to me after the game so I knew it was coming. We were supposed to have a meeting on Sunday and he canceled the meeting. “
Hey @Giants fans! Start off your Saturday listening to the GREAT PEPPER JOHNSON as he talks with us about his playing career and his departure from the XFL. This is an episode you won’t want to miss! #GiantsPride https://t.co/dK7G1Melx9— The Giant Insider Newspaper & Podcast (@GiantInsider) July 25, 2020
The question of why he has been silent on the situation for so long is because once he was fired, they did not pay him. So lawyers got involved and the matter went to arbitration. Now that the XFL is in bankruptcy and a chance for him to recoup his money is over, he is now open to talking about it.
At the last 17 minutes of the podcast they talk about the Winston Moss, Pepper Johnson situation. It is an interesting listen.
The LA Wildcats finished the shortened five game season at two and three and were poised to make a run and lock in that 2nd place behind the Houston Roughnecks.
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit The Giant Insider with a h/t to XFL News Hub for the transcription.
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