Chris Johnson knows a little something about comebacks. He thinks his position is going through one.
Johnson was once considered the best running back in the NFL after he rushed for 2,006 yards in 2009, but injuries and inconsistent play led to a career-low 663 yards with the Jets in 2014, causing his once-glorious nickname "CJ2K" to get the unfavorable re-design of "CJ0K."
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Johnson's career ticked upward last season with the Cardinals after he found himself in a starting role in place of the injured Andre Ellington. The former Titans feature back rushed for 814 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games before getting injured himself and watching then-rookie David Johnson steal the show.
Despite losing his starting spot in the fast-paced Cardinals offense, Johnson is happy with the way the running back position is trending in the NFL.
"It's kind of different now," Johnson said, via NFL.com. "When I c
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"You know, it's crazy how it's changed, but it's coming back around. As long as you have a running back who can run the ball and catch the ball out of the backfield, you can still lean heavily on your running back."
With Todd Gurley breaking onto the scene last year for the Rams and the Cowboys having high hopes for first-round pick Ezekiel Elliott, Johnson may be right about teams again prioritizing the ground game.
Johnson had some advice for young running backs — David Johnson in particular — about what they need to do to remain productive once they get into the NFL.
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"(David Johnson) has the talent and knows what to do," Chris Johnson said. "He just needs to stay healthy. A lot of young running backs are used to high school and college, where you just practice and go home. I did it when I was a young player, but I learned how to take care of my body. Also, they can't fumble the ball. That hurts a lot of young running backs. They must learn how to take care of the ball."
Both Johnsons and Ellington expect to see plenty of the ball this season in one of the best offenses in the league. If they can all stay healthy, Arizona may enjoy a long season instead of enduring one.