Community celebrates success of Mercer County-native, 49ers player Dontae Johnson

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A community is celebrating the success of a football player from New Jersey who will be playing in the Super Bowl Sunday.

Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers will go to battle in Sunday’s big game in Miami. Dontae Johnson, who is on the 49ers, started his career in Mercer County.

Jerry Eure has been the head football coach at the Pennington School for nearly 30 years. When Plainfield native Johnson joined his team in 2008, both coaches and teammates say they knew he was a special player.

“I texted him the other day and said I'm just so proud of you, he's been through a lot after being in the NFL so long,” says Chandler Fraser-Pauls, a friend of Johnson.

Johnson plays cornerback for San Francisco, but learned the game playing for Eure at the Pennington School from 2008 to 2010.  He continued his career at North Carolina State and was drafted by San Francisco in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL draft.

“To be drafted, to be the first one is a great honor and he represented the school well everybody on campus was ecstatic and happy for him,” says Eure. “I mean, he's a great person and great football player and we thought it was just something out of the ordinary to be chosen to the NFL, top 1% in the country.”

In addition to the 49ers, Johnson has played for the Bills, Cardinals and Chargers during his six-year career.

While the Super Bowl may be the pinnacle for a professional football player, Eure says it's the type of person Johnson continues to be that means the most.

“We're just honored to have him be an alum of this school that's the main thing, we're just so proud of his accomplishments,” says Eure.

Johnson isn't the only local tie to this year's Super Bowl. Paterson native K'Waun Williams is also a cornerback for the 49ers and Garfield native and former NFL wide receiver Miles Austin is an assistant coach with San Francisco.

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