The veteran tailback will continue his professional career after re-signing with the Arizona Cardinals on a one-year deal. On Thursday, the team announced the signing, which was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Johnson burst onto the NFL’s radar in the spring of 2008 by setting a combine record with a 4.24 second 40-yard dash. That speed was enough to assuage concerns about his ability to be a full-time tailback in the pros, leading the Titans to select him with the 24th pick of that year’s draft.
The East Carolina product immediately rewarded Tennessee’s faith. He ran for more than 1,200 yards his rookie year, then shattered that mark by breaking away for 2,006 more the following season. Johnson is one of only seven players in league history to break the 2,000-yard barrier.
His Titans tenure included four more 1,000-yard seasons, but it appeared his time as a featured back was winding down in 2013. Johnson averaged just 3.9 yards per carry in his final year with the club, raising questions about his viability as a No. 1 runner in the league. He signed a two-year, $8 million deal with the Jets after being released by Tennessee but spent just one season as the team’s part-time starter before having his option declined for 2015.
That led him to Arizona, where a spot in the desert helped revive his career. He ran for more than 800 yards in ‘15 despite playing in only 11 games to help the Cardinals advance all the way to the NFC Championship Game. He was poised to capitalize on that performance in 2016, but a groin injury ended his season after only four games.
David Johnson, who had 1,239 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns last year, will still be the team’s top back. But Chris Johnson will have an opportunity to make an impact in rotation.
He’ll work on a bounce-back season with the Cardinals, though he’ll have to prove Father Time wrong. Johnson will be 32 next season, making him one of the league’s oldest backs.