Ex-NFL Pro Keyshawn Johnson "Sorta" Wants to Become the Next Martha Stewart

johnson and potteryKeyshawn Johnson, ex-NFL pro and current ESPN commentator, wants to make one thing perfectly clear: He might be helping people remodel rooms on his design series (Keyshawn Johnson: Tackling Design, Saturdays at Noon EST on A&E), but he's a businessman, not an interior designer.

"The show is a platform," says Johnson, 36. "I'm trying to build a brand, so I can sell Keyshawn Johnson products in stores. You know, paint, rugs, carpet, drapery, fabrics, blankets, towels, hardware, plates."

"So you want to be like Martha Stewart?" I ask.

"Sorta," he says.

If you think it's odd that Johnson—who's best known for logging 814 receptions and 64 touchdowns during his 11 years with the NFL—wants to channel a domestic diva, you're not alone. During our 10-minute phone conversation, I repeatedly tried to find out what, if anything, would legitimate Johnson's design show, let alone his (forthcoming?) line of custom drapes. Excerpts below:

So, you were a professional football player. Now, you're hosting a show about design. How did that come about?
It was just something that happened several years ago. I'm trying to take everything to next level.

What initially drew you to home design?
It's cool. You get to express yourself in an artistic way.

Do you have a design philosophy?
Not really. I go with what fits at the time.

So how would you describe your own home?
It's clean. It's Mediterranean. I don't have a whole bunch of shit everywhere.

How did your old teammates react when you told them about Tackling Design?

They didn't say anything.

Really? They weren't even a little surprised?
No, not at all. A lot of them have been to my homes, and they've seen that I'm a tasteful guy. They expected this.

Did any of your football skills help you with interior designing?
Working with my assistants, the team of people, different opinions and stuff like that.

I've seen a few episodes of TLC's Trading Spaces. Every now and then, someone totally hates his or her new room. Did that ever happen on "Tackling Design"?
No, everything was pretty good.

So everyone liked their rooms? Not a single person was unhappy?
Everyone was satisfied with the work in the end.

Do you have any favorite decorating tools?
No, I don't have favorites.

Not unless they're Keyshawn Johnson products, right?

Anything else you'd like to add?
Tune in Saturdays at Noon.

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  • Yataye Keaton

    Mr. Johnson, I commend you for taking “what appears to be nothing in the eyes of some and creating something for those who see!” The field of interior design is truly one that has its challenges and obstacles, but a young man of your stature have what it takes for “Tacking Design!”

    The same skills that you used on the field in football (physically) will "most definitely" be used in the field of design (mentally). I thank you for stepping out and leading the way because it gives aspiring designers like me faith to believe that your “hearts desire” is possible. I wish you much success in your new endeavor and may “spirit” continue to bless the works of your hands and expand your territory even more!!!

    From The Heart,

  • Dan Macsai

    @Reginald Good point. Keyshawn didn't really engage me during our interview, as you can probably tell. But if his show scores with the general public, he could indeed become a viable pitchman.

  • Reginald Foxworth

    Decades ago, who would have thought George Foreman would be more loved as a pitchman for grills instead of as a boxer? There are always opportunities to reinvent yourself in the marketing world. In the public eye, Mr. Johnson requires nothing more than the ability to engage his audience. If he is promoting a quality product, it will stand on its own merits. Mr. Johnson is pursuing a legitimate path toward extending his brand.