Al Johnson: 'I plan to lead by example' 01:38 PM CDT on Saturday, June 26, 2004 By MATT MOSLEY / DallasNews.com Cowboys center Al Johnson had just settled into a starting job in training camp last season when he injured his right knee. After missing his entire rookie season because of microfracture surgery, Johnson is now ready to reclaim his starting role. CowboysPlus.com's Matt Mosley talked with Johnson recently on a variety of topics. Q: How does the knee feel? Johnson: I'm pretty happy with how it feels. I did have some stiffness, but I didn't notice any swelling, and that's a great thing. Q: What did you think when you found out Matt Lehr had been moved to guard in the offseason? Johnson: I just found out about a week before the last minicamp. But I can tell you that he's looked great at guard. He seemed to pick it up pretty quickly. Q: So you think you're going to start? Johnson: I'm definitely hoping to start, but there is some serious competition. Gennaro DiNapoli has been a starter in this league for awhile. And I know that means a lot to the coaches. Q: Were you nervous about testing the knee during the recent minicamp? Johnson: I guess I was a little apprehensive at first, but I ended up feeling pretty confident. It never affected me in the middle of a play. I just don't think it really inhibited me at all. I'm about 95 percent. I do feel it get stiff a little bit at times, but I just need to knock some of the rust off. Q: Bill Parcells has talked about how close your are to strength and conditioning coach Joe Juraszek. How did that relationship form? Johnson: I think we have similar personalities. And you can't help but get to know someone when you both spend so much time in the weight room. We give each other a hard time, and I'd say we've become good friends, but we keep the work separate. I still have a job to get done and when it's time to work, it's time to work. Q: How does Larry Allen look to you? Johnson: He looked really good in minicamp. He took all the reps, and he looks like he's in much better condition. He's also running great. Q: Because of your outgoing nature, do you see youself becoming a vocal leader on the offensive line? Johnson: When you've got a Hall of Famer like Larry and a Pro Bowler like Flozell Adams, there's no need to be a vocal leader. I plan to lead by example. Q: What do you think of the running back situation? Johnson: I think ReShard Lee and Aveion Cason are really going to help us. Aveion has some great speed, and Julius Jones is going be solid. And I think Richie Anderson's going to end up getting the ball more than people think. Q: You heading out of town on vacation? Johnson: I'll head home to Wisconsin in a couple of weeks. I might even get some fishing in.