So, he took a job on a fishing boat in Key West, Florida, shooting mahi mahi to make ends meet.
Now, three years later and after working out, Johnson is a winning NFL running back.
As the Cleveland Browns missed their two starting running backs, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, Johnson took advantage, rushing for a career-high 146 yards and a touchdown in the Browns’ 17-14 win over the Broncos. Denver Thursday night.
On his first career start, Johnson looked calm and explosive as he helped an exhausted Browns team – also missing starting quarterback Baker Mayfield – to a win that ended a two-game losing streak.
And when Johnson was informed of the tweet, he looked stunned, saying, “LeBron? Dude, this is my favorite basketball player; I’m not going to lie to you… It’s amazing! LeBron James, enjoy this man. It means a lot. Wow! “
It’s the culmination of a long journey for the running back, who also worked as a personal trainer before signing for the Alliance of American Football league, where he finished second in the league in rushing yards and fray with the Orlando Apollo in 2019.
Although he was initially signed by the Browns as an undrafted free agent in 2019, he had primarily featured as a kick returner on special teams.
He has appeared in all 16 games in 2020, while also filling in as appropriate as a running back, registering career highs in ranges (33) and rushing yards (166).
But it was in week seven of this season that Johnson really exploded onto the scene with the Browns needing a big performance with their stars on the sidelines.
“It’s inexplicable. I wanted to celebrate but I didn’t know what to do. It’s been a long journey, ”Johnson said, reflecting on how his fortunes have changed since 2018.
The victory means the Browns remained alive in the AFC’s playoff table, as it marks the Broncos’ fourth straight loss.
“My pride is hurt”
For Broncos linebacker Von Miller, it was perhaps an even more painful loss given what he’s said before.
“And if I do that we’ll win… If I can play well and I can get fired and find a way to disrupt the game, we’ll win.” The pressure is on me to play well.
“I don’t know who I’m attacking, but I’m going to kill him. I’m going to kill him. And the other guy on the other side too. I will play extremely well and make games for my team. I will prepare and win this game for sure. ”
Visit CNN.com/sport for more news, features and videos
However, in the disappointing performance, Miller was forced to leave after injuring his ankle.
And the Super Bowl 50 MVP said his “pride is hurt more than anything.”
“We did good things in the half and I felt like I was going to do good things in the second half, but I got injured. “