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Jimmy Johnson becomes `Survivor’ celebrity
Question of the Day
MIAMI (AP) - Jimmy Johnson has become a "Survivor" celebrity, even though he has yet to appear on the show.
Johnson says he knew the CBS reality series was popular, but lately he's surprised to find himself talking more about his experience on "Survivor: Nicaragua" than about football.
"I had a call from my stockbroker today," Johnson said during a conference call Thursday. "He said, `Coach, my wife could care less if you won national championships or Super Bowls _ and we live in Dallas. Could you send her an autographed picture? Because she's a huge "Survivor" fan.'
"That's the typical response I'm getting."
The premiere airs Wednesday, and the 67-year-old Johnson's involvement has already received considerable attention since taping concluded this summer.
The former coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, University of Miami and Oklahoma State spent more than a month as one of 20 castaways. He was part of a team of 10 contestants over the age of 40 competing against a group 30 and under.
The famous ex-coach and former psychology major said he got along well with the others.
"They're fans, and they enjoy talking football," he said. "When things were kind of rough and we were lying on the bamboo at night, they'd say, `Jimmy, give us a football story.' We really had a great relationship."
To preserve the show's suspense, Johnson didn't say how he fared, or even how much weight he lost. But he said he has only gained about half back.
Johnson's a longtime fan of the show and loves the outdoors. But he said that while he's glad he had the experience, he wouldn't do it again.
"The other day I was talking about how we all smelled, and someone said, `Why didn't you just go take a shower?'" Johnson said. "I said, 'What, do you think there's a Ritz Carlton down the street? I didn't have any other clothes. I was soaking wet the whole time.'
"It was grueling. It was so much more difficult than I ever imagined."
Johnson's not only thinner, but his famous hair is shorter. He cut it before the show to simplify maintenance.
"I did have my hair shorter than it has been since I've been in high school," he said. "A big part of the show, I was standing there in my underwear, so I wasn't really concerned what I looked like."
Johnson said he doesn't expect "Survivor" celebrity to alter his image, because it was already well established.
"I've gone through national championships, a couple of Super Bowls, I've had my ups and downs," he said. "I went through a 1-15 season in Dallas. I went through a season in high school of not winning a game. I've been through the whole gamut.
"My image is out there, whatever it is. Maybe the Redskins fans and Eagles fans can't stand me, and a lot of Cowboys fans love me. I don't think `Survivor' is going to change that."
By Matt Kibbe
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