Ray Lewis likes to call fellow linebacker Jarret Johnson a "construction worker".
"He's just going to always come to work," Lewis says. "He don't got the glamorous job, he just loves doing what he do."
Johnson, now in his eighth season out of Alabama, will reach quite a milestone this Sunday against the Browns - he'll appear in his 100th straight game.
"I knew I had a bunch of 'em but I didn't really keep track of it until this year, and I didn't even realize this was the 100th one until they told me yesterday," Johnson said today. "But yeah, it's something I'm proud of. It takes eight years to do."
The last (and only) time that Johnson missed a game came in Week 16 of his rookie season, although that absence is not believed to be injury related. Since then, the linebacker has battled through a broken thumb, a torn labrum in his shoulder, a back injury, and various other bumps and bruises.
"It's something you've got to do," Johnson said of his ability to play through pain. "In this game, it's not if you get hurt, but when. If you're not hurt at the end of the year, you weren't playing. It's just part of the game and you've got to play through it."
Johnson's 99-straight starts include a stretch where he started every game from 2007-2009. Including this year's contests, that makes 50 straight starts.
As for the "construction worker" moniker, Johnson laughs when it's brought up. He says Lewis came up with the nickname a year ago, when Johnson was battling through a shoulder injury in training camp and refused to let the pain slow him down.
"They kept telling me to come out, and I just kept going," Johnson said. "He's like, 'You remind me of my uncle. My uncle's a construction worker and he don't never quit working. You just like him.' So he started calling me that.
"Everybody's got to have a role. Everybody's got to have something that they bring to the defense, per se. That's the reason I'm in this room. If I was relying on my athletic ability and my build, I probably would have been out of here a long time ago. So, everybody's got to have their role."