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Johnson to mentor Selma player

SELMA — Michael Johnson will be leaving Selma soon for the upcoming season, but his mark will still be felt.

Selma High School defensive end Marcus Alexander met Johnson, a Cincinnati Bengals defensive end and Dallas County High School graduate, at Bloch Park on Saturday to start what he hopes is a long, fruitful relationship.

“He’s going to build me as an individual,” Alexander, a senior, said. “He’s going to push me and be an inspiration to do what I can.”

Jimmie Coleman, manager of Calhoun Foods, said Alexander was living by himself after family members moved out and has been basically left to fend for himself. Coleman said he gave Alexander a job at the grocery store and put him in touch with Johnson.

Johnson said he wants to instill the value of hard work in Alexander and help him move his career beyond high school.

“Everybody has a different start, but we can all have the same work ethic,” Johnson said. “Whatever he wants, he’s going to have to work hard to get it.”

Coleman said Johnson is looking for a football camp where he can take Alexander like he did for two other area children last week.

Coleman said Johnson took the kids to a camp in Tennessee and paid their way.

Johnson was at Bloch Park on Saturday for a meet-and-greet with the community to connect with Selma one last time before he leaves to prepare for the upcoming NFL season.

“It gives people a chance to touch you and see that you’re down to earth,” Johnson said. “It’s a lot more relaxed than at a camp because you have a schedule and an agenda. It’s relaxing to just sit our here and do whatever we want to do.”