So, he took up a job on a fishing boat in Key West, Florida, reeling in mahi mahi to make ends meet.

Now, three years later and having put within the work, Johnson is a match-winning NFL running back.
With the Cleveland Browns lacking their two beginning running backs in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, Johnson took benefit, speeding for a career-high 146 yards and a landing within the Browns’ 17-14 victory over the Denver Broncos on Thursday evening.

In his first profession begin, Johnson appeared composed and explosive as he helped a depleted Browns crew — additionally lacking beginning quarterback Baker Mayfield — to a victory which halted a two-game dropping streak.

His efficiency on Thursday earned reward from one of many Browns’ most well-known followers, NBA celebrity LeBron James, because the 36-year-old tweeted: “D’ Ernest Johnson on 1 tonight!! Love to see it!”

And when Johnson was informed concerning the tweet, he appeared shocked, saying: “LeBron? Man, that’s my favorite basketball player; I’m not going to lie to you … That’s amazing! LeBron James, appreciate it man. That means a lot. Wow!”

Johnson leaps over Broncos safety Kareem Jackson during the first quarter.

It is the end result of a lengthy journey for the running back, who additionally labored as a private coach earlier than signing for the Alliance of American Football league, the place he completed second within the league in speeding and scrimmage yards whereas with the Orlando Apollo in 2019.

Although he was initially signed by the Browns as an undrafted free agent in 2019, he had predominately featured as a kick returner on particular groups.

He appeared in all 16 video games in 2020, while additionally filling in the place wanted as a running back, posting profession highs in carries (33) and speeding yards (166).

But it is in week seven this season the place Johnson actually exploded onto the scene with the Browns needing a massive efficiency with their stars on the sideline.

Johnson turned the third Browns running back to have 100 or extra scrimmage yards in a sport this season, becoming a member of Chubb and Hunt. To put that in context, 5 NFL groups have but to have one running back achieve this in a sport this season.

“It’s unexplainable. I wanted to celebrate but I didn’t know what to do. It’s been a long journey,” mentioned Johnson as he mirrored on how his fortunes have modified since 2018.

The victory means the Browns remained alive within the AFC playoff image, whereas it is the Broncos’ fourth straight defeat.

Quarterback Case Keenum celebrates the Browns victory against the Broncos.

‘My delight is damage’

For Broncos linebacker Von Miller, it was maybe an much more painful defeat given the speaking he did beforehand.

In the lead as much as Thursday’s sport, Miller mentioned: “I’m going to have a great game. I’m going to go out there, and going to have to play well and get a couple sacks.

“And if I try this then we’ll win … If I can play properly and I can get sacks and I can discover a option to disrupt the sport, we’ll win. The stress is on me to play properly.

“I don’t know who the tackle is that I’m going against, but I’m going to kill him. I’m going to kill him. And the other guy too, on the other side. I’m going to play extremely well and make plays for my team. I’m going to set us up and win this game for sure.”

However within the disappointing efficiency, Miller was compelled to depart after injuring his ankle.

And the Super Bowl 50 MVP mentioned his “pride is hurt more than anything.”

“I talked a lot of s**t before this game and I wanted to make it personal. I wanted the animosity. I wanted this to be that game, and I wanted to win it,” Miller mentioned.

“We did some good things in the half and I felt like I was gonna do some great stuff in the second half — but I got hurt.”

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