“NFL New: Former Browns running back announces retirement”

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Former Browns running back Duke Johnson Jr., one of the lone bright spots during some of the Browns darkest years, announced his retirement on Instagram Sunday night. Johnson didn’t play last season and was most recently with the Bills.

Duke Johnson Traded to Texans from Browns for 2020 4th-Round Draft Pick | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors | Bleacher Report

“8 Years 4 teams with 1 goal in mind, create a better life for my family,” Johnson wrote on Instagram. “I never dreamed of being the all time leading rusher of my dream school or being somewhere on the list of all time players to come out of South FL. I just wanted an opportunity to play a game to provide a better life for my family and I was able to do just that.”

The Browns selected Johnson No. 77 overall in the 2015 draft after he rushed for 3,519 yards at the University of Miami, a school record that still stands.

Over four seasons with the Browns, he rushed for 1,286 yards and had 2,170 receiving yards and scored 13 touchdowns and played in all 16 games every season.

One of the few skill position players Browns fans embraced during a 1-31 stretch in 2016 and 2017, Johnson had his best season in 2017 when he had 1,041 scrimmage yards and scored seven touchdowns. He was awarded the local PFWA player of the year award and earned a three-year contract extension.

He struggled to find his role at times and, in a 2018 interview with cleveland.com, admitted he lobbied his head coach, Hue Jackson, to play wide receiver.

His relationship with the Browns eventually soured, coming to a head after the Browns added Kareem Hunt to the running back room behind Nick Chubb and Johnson requested a trade in 2019. Quarterback Baker Mayfield called Johnson out that spring, saying, “You’re either on this train or you’re not, it’s moving. You can get out of the way or you can join us. so it is what it is.”

Johnson was traded to the Texans in August for a 2020 draft pick they used on linebacker Jacob Phillips.

Duke Johnson | National Football League, News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors | Bleacher Report

He spent two seasons in Houston playing with current Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson. He rushed for 645 yards and had 659 receiving yards in 27 games before adding stops in Miami in 2021 and Buffalo in 2022, appearing in just six games over two seasons.

The 30-year old Johnson ends his career with 2,265 rushing yards, 2,870 receiving yards and 23 total touchdowns.
“I hope I left a greater impression on y’all that’s bigger than football,” Johnson wrote.


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