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Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

Jimmy Johnson is a 'Survivor'

“’Survivor’ probably saved my life,’’’ Jimmy Johnson said, recalling he nearly was cast on the show in 2008 but was rejected when doctors discovered blocked arteries and ordered heart surgery.

Two years later, after getting into better shape and convincing his skeptical wife, the Fox analyst gave it another try, this time making the cut for “Survivor: Nicaragua,’’ premiering Wednesday on CBS.

Why? “The adventure of it,’’ Johnson, 67, said. “When I was a kid growing up I had these aspirations of someday going to the Amazon . . . Nicaragua wasn’t the Amazon, but it was pretty close to it.’’

Johnson, an “obsessed’’ fan of the show, said the experience was his motivation, not winning. (He is not permitted to reveal how he did.) It turned into even more of an experience than he imagined.

The most difficult challenge, he said, was not the lack of food or primitive living conditions but the lack of sleep, which made it difficult to function.

Johnson said some competitors were football fans who enjoyed hearing his stories, but otherwise he was treated like anyone else.

One compromise: He got his famously, um, organized hairdo cut shorter than it had been since high school.

Tags: Fox , CBS , "Survivor"

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