Former All-Pro running back, who had a 20 TD season in 2016, retires after eight NFL seasons

Written by on May 20, 2024

Nearly a decade ago, David Johnson played an integral role in the Arizona Cardinals‘ surprising run to the 2015 NFC Championship game. Now, eight seasons, an All-Pro and Pro Bowl nod, 57 touchdowns and nearly 7,000 total yards later, the veteran running back is calling it a career. 

Johnson, 32, announced his retirement Sunday via Instagram, ending a career that started fast before it was beset by injuries. 

“There’s been highs and lows, but I’ve felt very fortunate and honored by the people who’ve supported me along this journey,” Johnson wrote in his retirement post. “The relationships and brotherhoods I’ve formed with so many of my dawgs will never be forgotten. … When it’s all said and done, I really hope I impacted at least one person on and off the field in a positive way.”

As he alluded to in his retirement post, Johnson’s rise to NFL stardom is remarkable given that he received little fanfare coming out of high school. He made the most of his time at Northern Iowa, though, amassing over 6,400 all-purpose yards and 63 touchdowns during his four seasons with the Panthers

Johnson’s success at the college ranks led to the Cardinals selecting him with the 86th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. He started his rookie season as a backup before an injury to former All-Pro Chris Johnson thrust him into the starting lineup. Johnson had 120 total yards and a touchdown in his first start and had 187 rushing yards and three touchdowns two weeks later in a win over the Eagles

In 2016, Johnson blossomed into one of the NFL’s most productive backs. He rushed for for 1,239 yards and 16 touchdowns and catching 80 passes for 879 yards and four more scores. Johnson was tabbed that year as an All-Pro. 

Injuries started to impact Johnson late in the 2016 season, however. After injuring his knee in the Cardinals’ final game of that season, Johnson missed all but one game in 2017 after injuring his wrist in Week 1. Despite those setbacks, the Cardinals awarded Johnson with a three-year, $39 million extension (that included $30 million guaranteed) heading into the 2018 season. 

Johnson had a productive year in 2018, rushing for nearly 1,000 yards, amassing 1,386 total yards and scoring 11 touchdowns. But his production dipped considerably in 2019, and during that offseason the Cardinals traded him to the Texans in exchange for wideout DeAndre Hopkins and a fourth-round pick. 

After a solid initial year in Houston (he had over 1,000 total yards and eight touchdowns), Johnson had just 99 touches in 13 games during the 2021 season, his last year with the Texans. He spent the 2022 season with the Saints, appearing in five regular season games.  

During his career, Johnson founded The Johnson Family’s Mission 31 Foundation, whose mission is to  “provide opportunities, support and resources to seriously-ill children and their families by offering daily support and life-changing experiences.”

The post Former All-Pro running back, who had a 20 TD season in 2016, retires after eight NFL seasons first appeared on CBS Sports.

Reader's opinions

Leave a Reply

Current track