Lamarcus Joyner, the veteran safety just signed by the Jets, is humble and yet on occasion has to remind people not to underestimate him.
"I'm not a track star," he said back in 2014. "But put on the film and tell me who the best player on the field was."
Here are six things you might not have known about Joyner the NFL player and Joyner the person:
Joyner grew up in Miami and had an illustrious, versatile high school career. His first three seasons he played at Southwest Miami HS. Then he transferred to football powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale for his senior season. He had 1,090 yards on 79 offensive touches and averaged 39.6 yards on kickoff returns with three TDs.
His defensive numbers? Not so prolific. But that's because he was a rarely challenged corner whose skills still earned him the National Defensive Player of the Year award from USA Today. He was also a five-star recruit by both ` and Scout.com and took official visits only with Ohio State, Notre Dame and Florida State before committing to FSU.
Joyner raked in the hardware for the Seminoles, culminating in his senior season in 2013 when he was the 'Noles' first DB named consensus All-American first-teamer since 2000, earned All-ACC first-team honors for the second straight year, and was a finalist for the Thorpe and Nagurski awards. He had eight interceptions in his college career and 5.5 sacks as a senior, which led the FSU defense.
Besides the big trophies, he grabbed a couple of team awards that say a little something about his approach. Joyner was named a Top Conditioned Athlete at FSU his last two years, earned the Attitude Award/Defense in '12 and the Bob Crenshaw Award (for "Biggest Heart") in '13.
All his honors and a good NFL Combine showing led to him being selected in the second round, 41st overall, of the 2014 draft by the then-St. Louis Rams.
Mother Knows Best
Joyner had a rough upbringing in a rough neighborhood in Miami. But he avoided the pitfalls of that environment by trusting in his mother, Rose.
"It has to be God," he said of his success on the field in a Miami Herald interview in 2014. "I never smoked or drank a day in my life, and I was always around it. I know you're supposed to fear God only, but I feared my mom and God. I just wasn't going to disappoint my mama."
Although he did admit to letting her down once. He got into a fight with a classmate when he was 12, resulting in a night in juvie and a suspension from school.
"I remember telling myself I never wanted to be here again," Joyner said. "My mom showed up the next day crying, saying, 'You disappointed me, Lamarcus. I thought you were different.' I said, 'Mom I'll never disappoint you again.' I felt so bad. I felt like a loser. We laugh about it to this day because I've never let my mom down again."
"Reality" TV Star
Joyner's big pro "I'm ready for my closeup" moment came during the 2016 "Hard Knocks" finale, when he provided one of the late-summer storylines when he was captured having a discussion with then-Rams HC Jeff Fisher over his frustrations as a non-starter in his first two seasons with the team.
"I can go work at Walmart," he said at one point. "I don't need these people's money."
But Joyner and Fisher ended the meeting with hugs and downplayed the "drama" in the following days.
"That's why I don't watch TV," Joyner said. "It's entertainment for a reason. None of it is real. Man, I love this place, my coaches love me. That's just a little passion; that wasn't nothing serious. Coach Fisher wasn't paying me any attention. They know I love this game. I'll have ups and downs. I'm a little more emotional than most guys, I guess. My mom raised me. It's all love. I'm here."
"That's why we drafted him," Fisher said. "We watched him for a couple of years there at Florida State, and he's one of those guys. He shows it every day."
Joyner's has had his ups and downs as a pro at a couple of different positions. He played nickel decently for the Rams in 2016, their first year back in L.A., then was shifted to free safety for the next two seasons (27 starts total) by new HC Sean McVay and had probably his best pro season in '17, after which the Rams placed their non-exclusive franchise tag on him.
He departed after 2018, then with the Raiders in 2019 and '20, he was shifted back to slot CB and things didn't go as well. Which in part led to his release on March 9 and his signing by the Jets.
Like The Rock?
The Green & White initially list Joyner as a safety. But a while back he invoked Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who before his acting and pro wrestling careers was a backup DT for four seasons at the University of Miami, to explain his playing philosophy and it sounds as if it will apply to his Jets stay as well.
"You ever watch WWF? You ever heard when The Rock says, 'Know your role and shut your mouth'?" he said. "Once you've got a role, you just know your role and you do your job. That's all, man. I'm just ready to have fun."
See the Best Photos of the Former Raiders Safety and Jets Free Agency Signing