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NFL Buffalo Bills

Stevie Johnson Played With A Heavy Heart

Stevie Johnson

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a tough season for everyone involved with the Buffalo Bills this season.

A 5-9 record, injuries to several key components including quarterback E.J. Manuel, running backs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, as well as most of the starting secondary to begin the season, and a general disappointment have dominated the season.

The season was disappointing enough for Stevie Johnson, but on Sunday, he suffered a loss we can all relate to and sympathize with — Johnson lost his mother unexpectedly at the age of 48.

Rhonda Lewis died at her Northern California home over the weekend, as reported by Tim Graham of the Buffalo news. The story broke during the first quarter of the Bills’ win Sunday over the Jacksonville Jaguars. On the field, Johnson was having another tough day, picking up just one catch on the day;  it was just another bad performance in a season full of them.

While details aren’t readily available at this time, Graham spoke to an unidentified member of Johnson’s family who said that Johnson was devastated, but played on. Athletes in similar situations in the past, most famously including Adrian Peterson earlier this year following the death of his son, have chosen to play on as Johnson did; football may be an outlet for these men in times of grievance.

Despite playing, Johnson’s heart was clearly heavy, his mind on his mom:

Here’s a closeup of Stevie Johnson’s eyeblack after getting the news of his mother’s passing. #himom pic.twitter.com/N4TsBklwor

— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) December 16, 2013

Condolences to Johnson and his family. He’ll have the support of the Bills franchise and the entire fan base.