From veterans like Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant and New Orleans Saints running back Adrian Peterson to rookies like Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Tyus Bowser, East Texas will be well represented on the field this coming NFL season.
But on the sidelines there will be another East Texan whose name will never be called in a highlight, but he is very much a pro at his profession.
"Once I stopped playing football, I would have never thought I would be in the NFL. I ended up in the NFL in a totally different way," said Andrew Johnson, New York Jets Equipment Manager.
Andrew Johnson is a John Tyler alumn that made his way to football's biggest stage, as an equipment manager for the New York Jets. It's not a glamorous job, but without Johnson, Jacksonville native and Jets quarterback Josh McCown would be without the necessities needed to practice and play.
"That was the first thing I told him, glad to have another East Texan in the building. We always talk about our home town. Talk about how much each one of us gets back. I always throw him a couple of Tomato Bowl joke and all that. Definitely fun to have someone from your area up here," said Johnson.
Before heading off to training camp this year, Johnson spent a three week stint in Africa sharing the word of God with the non-profit "Managers on a Mission".
"We did the versus with the kids in the morning and then we taught them sports throughout the day. My group worked with 98 orphans in the village. I got back Sunday and went back into work on Tuesday. The thing I miss the most is being around the kids everyday. We were only there for three weeks, but in three weeks we made life long connections with the kids and missionaries that were there," said Johnson.
Next time you watch a Jets game, look on the sideline. You might catch Andrew Johnson strapping on your favorite players helmet, just living the dream.
"You know a very small percentage will go on to play college ball, and an even smaller percentage will play at a professional level. But there are many, many avenues to make it to the professional level," said Johnson.