Madden: Johnson safe from supposed curse
AUG 02, 2012 2:12p ET
"He's safe," John Madden said. "He's too good not to be safe."
More than two decades ago, a video game that has become increasingly popular over the years was named after Madden, a former NFL coach and current television broadcaster.
Unfortunately, his name also has become associated with the jinx that has hit so many NFL stars who have suffered injuries and other setbacks shortly after appearing on the cover of the game.
Many Lions fans fear that Johnson will be the next to be struck by the so-called Madden Curse.
Madden, not surprisingly, doesn't believe in the curse.
"I was on the cover for, what, 15 years and, hell, never had a problem," Madden said while watching the Lions' practice Thursday. "Never pulled a hamstring, never had an Achilles, never had a concussion. So I don't think anything about it.
"Every player in the NFL's going to get something (an injury). When they get a little something, they give it to that (the Madden Curse).
"The players like being on (the cover). They want to be on it."
Madden called himself a "fan" of Johnson and was looking forward to having a photo taken with him after practice.
Asked about whether Johnson will become one of the NFL's all-time greats, Madden replied:
"I think the jury's come in with their decision on that one. He is one of the greats.
"I don't know how much more he has to do other than longevity and they get into (championship) rings now, how many rings does he have and all those things.
"But just looking at him as a pure player, he's great right now. Sometimes you watch things he does, he's scary great. How far is he going to go, how long is he going to do it could be questions."
Madden also had high praise for the Lions front office and coaching staff, who were behind a turnaround that took the club from 0-16 in 2008 to 10 wins and the playoffs last year.
"When you're as bad as they were, you have a culture," Madden said. "You develop a winning culture, but you also develop a losing culture. When you develop that, it has to be changed.
"It's getting players, too, but it's also changing the culture. This administration has done that. They've come in here and they've changed the culture. Once you get that changed then that's your base and your foundation, and you just go on from there."
Left tackle Jeff Backus returned to practice after sitting out four days because of an injury to his right thumb. Backus wouldn't comment on when he expects to have the cast removed.
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