Johnny Quinn is a 2014 Winter Olympian in the sport of bobsled for Team USA.
Quinn is a former professional football player, spending time with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers and Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League. After a knee injury on the field, Johnny was forced to re-think the possibility of his career as a pro football player.
Johnny graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in Pre-Law and left as the school’s All-Time Leading Receiver. He also walked-on to the track team and helped anchor the 4×100 relay to a NCAA Regional mark. In 2011, Johnny was inducted into the University of North Texas Hall of Fame as a first ballot candidate. In 2013, he was selected as 1 of 2 receivers for the UNT All-Century Team.
Johnny grew up in McKinney, Texas where he was an All-State wide receiver at McKinney High School. Despite leading the State of Texas in receptions and finishing second in receiving touchdowns at the Class 5A level his senior season, Johnny was a non-recruited student-athlete. He did not receive an athletic scholarship until two days before signing day. Johnny is the CEO and Founder of The Athlete Watch. TAW is a pro-active leadership course in college recruiting for all student-athletes, parents, coaches and counselors. TAW is not a college recruiting service.
Currently, Quinn is a MBA candidate at the Keller Graduate School of Management via the United States Olympic Committee. Johnny has traveled the world with Team USA, where competition has taken him to Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Switzerland.
My name is Johnny Quinn. I’m a U.S. Olympian, in the sport of bobsledding.
I have a pretty good sense of humor. I thought maybe I’d get a couple retweets, maybe some funny comments but nothing, nothing to the extent of what has happened.
So, it’s given me a platform to go out and share my story, encourage others. I realized there are kids everywhere who have the same dreams that I had growing up at playing at the next level.
As a young kid growing up in the state of Texas, football is king… I knew that I wanted to be an NFL player one day.
During my time at North Texas, I had a very, very fortunate career,…And, so, entering the NFL draft in 2007, I felt very confident about my chances of getting drafted, I was, of all the receivers coming out, I was in the top ten statistically for career receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns….Well, day one goes by, I don’t get drafted, day two goes by and I don’t get drafted. So, at that point, it reminded me of my high school career where you know what? I’m going to have to do this the hard way and once the NFL draft concluded, I was very fortunate to have four teams reach out to my agent and I signed my first undrafted free agent contract deal with the Buffalo Bills, in 2007.
During my time with the Buffalo Bills, it was very short. I was one of the first guys to get cut….I got released prior to training camp in 2007.
After I got released from Buffalo, I had a work out with the New Orleans Saints…but that didn’t result in a contract….in November, I got invited up to work out for the Green Bay Packers.
I’ll tell you what, walking out in Lambeau Field on Monday Night Football versus the Cincinnati Bengals, it was an unbelievable moment of my life. And it made all the sacrifices leading up to that moment, to that game, worth it. I had my first catch in the preseason on Monday Night Football and I felt like I was on top of the world and three weeks later they cut me.
So, after two years bouncing around the NFL, I went up north of the border and signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League in 2009.
But Saskatchewan cut me.
As a professional football player, when I turned pro at 22 years old, I had a dream come true. …and by age 26 I had been cut three times and blew out my knee and so, talk about an emotional rollercoaster…my football career didn’t go the way I had anticipated it….I saw that door on professional football coming to an end.
At that time my agent represented a guy in the 2002 Winter Olympics that took silver in bobsled and they look for former football players with a track background… Things started to line up and I sent some of my speed and acceleration film…to a pilot at the Olympic Training Center…and he’s telling me more about bobsled and I’m telling him about football and I’m still trying to play football. Well, in October, during team trials, one of his guys shows up over weight and so, I get a call from this pilot two days before the four-man competition…I said, “Well, I’ll come up but I’ve never pushed a bobsled in my life.” He said, “All you have to do is get in the sled.” My first time ever on ice was at the four-man competition, I slip, I get in and we took third place…
By the halfway point of the season, I got moved up to the U.S. National Team. And, then, this year, I was named to the U.S. Olympic Team.
I mean what an unbelievable experience that was walking in on Opening Ceremonies as a small part of the 230 athlete delegation to represent the U.S., such an unbelievable moment.
At that point in my career, at 26 years old, after being cut three times, having a blown out knee, I saw my dream that I had as a little kid growing up coming to an end…I didn’t understand that there was something better coming…
Cinematography: Danielle Calodney & Andi Velazquez
Edited by: Nanfu Wang
Interview By: Laura Lehmann