David Johnson Downplays Injury History, Excited for 'Clean Slate' with Texans

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorApril 17, 2020

PHOENIX, AZ - DECEMBER 08: David Johnson #31 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the ball during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at State Farm Stadium on December 8, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. The Steelers defeated the Cardinals 23-17. (Photo by Rob Leiter via Getty Images)
Rob Leiter/Getty Images

New Houston Texans running back David Johnson was arguably the best player at his position in 2016 when he amassed a league-high 2,118 scrimmage yards and 20 touchdowns for the Arizona Cardinals.

However, Johnson has not found that form since, suffering a season-ending wrist injury in Week 1 in 2017 and running for just 3.6 yards per carry in 2018. The former Northern Iowa star lost his place atop the depth chart to Kenyan Drake last season as he missed three games and suffered back and ankle injuries.

That has led to questions about how effective Johnson will be with his new team, but he offered an optimistic outlook on his fresh start and health in a conference call with reporters Friday:

"Guys get nicked up, get injuries all the time, so you can't really predict what's going to happen. I know that I'm going to do everything that I can to be ready and keep my body as healthy as possible. I think that the biggest thing that I'm going to really focus on is doing overtime as far as keeping my body healthy.

"Just like I was telling my wife, just going back to my rookie year of doing everything that I can to make sure that my body is healthy and starting a clean slate for sure with a new team."

There's no denying Johnson's talent at his best. He's a dual-threat running back capable of darting through the line for big gains or acting as one of his team's most prominent pass-catchers (80 receptions in 2016).

While his two-season slump culminated in his benching, he has an opportunity to carry the running back load for Houston in 2020, a chance he is looking forward to taking.

"It was excitement from the start, and basically I have that chip back on my shoulder," he said. "Ever since I've been in the league, I've always had that chip. My biggest thing is I just want to get back to 2016, if not better than the 2016 season. I think the biggest thing, as everyone knows, is to stay healthy."

The Cardinals traded Johnson and a second-round pick to the Texans for wideout DeAndre Hopkins. Arizona also swapped a 2021 fourth-rounder for a fourth-round pick this year.

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