New England Patriots

Jun 5, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots full back Jakob Johnson (47) walks on to the field before mandatory minicamp at the Gillette Stadium practice field. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

By Alex Barth,

Imagine if football players had to have internships? Like, football internships. It seems crazy, but that’s what Jakob Johnson’s path to the NFL has looked like.

Unlike most NFL players, the Patriots fullback had a taste of professional football before getting to the league. Johnson was born in Germany, where he played youth football before moving to Jacksonville for his senior year of high school. After playing college ball at Tennessee, Johnson returned to his hometown of Stuttgart to continue his career in the German Football League.

Did playing in the GFL help prepare him for the NFL game?

“No offense to guys back home, but the GFL is a little different than professional football here in America,” Johnson told reporters on Tuesday. “You don’t have quite the same amount of resources… It’s a different environment.”

“My main job wasn’t playing football back then, my main job was being a waiter,” said Johnson. “So it is a little different. You don’t have quite the same amount of resources. You’ve kind of got to figure out how to feed yourself, how to work out.”

Sounds like a pretty common undergrad internship, no?

Still, that doesn’t mean his year with the Stuttgart Scorpions wasn’t valuable. Instead of preparing him for the on-field element of playing in the NFL, Johnson said it helped prepare him for everything else that comes along with being a pro athlete.

I would say, it just gave me a taste of the real world,” Johnson noted. “You know, when you’re in college, everything is handled for you. You got all these tutors and everybody babying you and making sure that you’re feeling okay. And it just gave me a taste of the real world, being by myself, living alone and then being able to come back and play football. It was just a great opportunity.”

“I think more than anything it gave me a taste of humbleness being back home,” Johnson added. 

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at