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Billy 'White Shoes' Johnson talks about his faith

By ERICA RODRIGUEZ
March 28, 2010 at 10:02 p.m.
Updated March 28, 2010 at 10:29 p.m.

Erica Rodriguez/Victoria Advocate

PORT LAVACA - After growing up watching the Houston Oilers' spring training in West Texas, Carl Wilson of Port Lavaca met one of his childhood idols Sunday.

"He was kind of like a clutch player," he said, as he stood in line for an autograph. "One of the spark plugs for the Oilers."

Billy "White Shoes" Johnson, a former Houston Oiler known for his funky chicken dance after touchdowns and white cleats during the '70s and '80s, made a special appearance Sunday.

Johnson signed autographs and banners for an hour before delivering his message to a crowd of about 500 at the Calhoun County Ministerial Alliance.

"My faith, it's who I am," he said before his address.

Johnson set seven team records in Houston and four playing for the Atlanta Falcons before he retired. After 14 years in the NFL, Johnson retired as the league's all-time leading punt returner. He is a three-time Pro-Bowler and was named man of year with the Oilers and Falcons.

Johnson was known for his signature white cleats when most players wore black cleats.

"Don't believe Wikipedia," he said. "About the part that paint fell on my shoes. I had them dyed."

Johnson said he began wearing the shoes as a part of a high school dare.

"I got away with it," he said, jokingly. "I was one of the lucky ones."

Johnson was asked to speak about his faith in an effort to attract a more diverse crowd to the Palm Sunday service.

"It's your foundation," he said, explaining his faith. "If you don't have a foundation, and you can't build up a foundation, then you're in trouble."

Although Johnson emphasized his faith, he said people still know him best for one thing.

"Just being an entertainer," he said. "Which I don't think I was. They say I was. I just think I have fun."

And although Johnson wouldn't show his shuffle, he still sports the white shoes, something he says is a part of him.

"That's my identity," he said.

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