Getting called out by former NFL star receiver Chad Johnson was a welcome break from the monotony of training camp for Tyron Brackenridge.
Johnson, now with the Montreal Alouettes, took aim at the Saskatchewan Roughriders safety Tuesday on Twitter. Brackenridge was still chuckling about it Wednesday.
“Was it entertaining?” Brackenridge asked with a laugh during a telephone interview. “I had fun with it.
“When you’re dealing with the pressure of training camp, these two-a-days and meetings, it’s good to have a little laugh here and there. He felt like I was the one he wanted to call out, I just entertained his antics.”
It began innocently enough on Twitter when a fan asked Johnson, a popular social media figure with 3.6 million followers, which team was he most looking forward to facing this season.
“41 from the Rough Riders,” Johnson tweeted, referencing Brackenridge.
After Brackenridge said, “Can’t wait!” Johnson turned up the heat, tweeting: “I will run through you or around you, whichever you prefer.”
Brackenridge responded: “your cfl career will be short messing with me! You better ask your teammates or better yet find out for yourself.”
Johnson countered: “They speak highly of you but you’ll be dealt with.”
Added Brackenridge, “they speak highly of me for a reason. It’s a thin line between tough & stupid. If your not looking for 41 you’ll regret it..”
The colourful Johnson, in his first CFL season following a two-year hiatus from football, certainly didn’t select a shrinking violet.
The six-foot, 190-pound Brackenridge was a league all-star last year and voted the CFL’s hardest hitter by his peers. Johnson referenced that when a fan asked who Brackenridge was.
“The person who’ll force me to keep my head on a swivel August 16,” Johnson tweeted.
Johnson ended the lively banter asking his supporters to follow Brackenridge.
“I need at least 2 million of you to follow the homie (at)Tbrack41 please,” Johnson tweeted.
Brackenridge, 29, who has over 7,000 Twitter followers, said Johnson’s comments were unsolicited although the two have a history. They’ve faced each other in the NFL and worked out together during the off-season with the same trainer.
“We don’t really know each other personally, like buddy buddy,” Brackenridge said. “But at the end of the day, things like this make it fun to play the game and look forward to . . . it’s all fun and games.”
That is until June 29, when Saskatchewan opens its season hosting the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in a Grey Cup rematch. Brackenridge hasn’t circled Aug. 16 on his calendar — when Montreal visits Regina — because as defending champions the Riders are expecting the best from every opponent this season.