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David Johnson, All-Pro running back with Cardinals, retires after eight seasons in NFL

David Johnson is walking away from football after eight seasons running away from defenders in the NFL.

The former All-Pro running back wrote Sunday in an Instagram post that he is "looking forward to my next career path in life."

"I don't know exactly what that will be," Johnson added, "but I hope it will bring me the same passion, excitement, and love as football did!"

Drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Johnson was an immediate contributor to the prolific Bruce Arians offenses of the mid-2010s. In the Northern Iowa product's rookie season, Johnson racked up 1,038 yards from scrimmage and scored 12 total touchdowns for an Arizona team that reached the NFC Championship Game. Johnson began the season as a backup RB to CJ2K (former Titans great Chris Johnson) and ended it as a bona fide RB1 and Offensive Rookie of the Year finalist.

In 2016, Johnson led the league with 373 touches, 2,118 yards from scrimmage and 20 scores. In addition to earning first-team All-Pro honors and his first (and only) Pro Bowl bid, Johnson finished third in Offensive Player of the Year voting behind the likes of Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers; he finished ahead of eventual Super Bowl champion Tom Brady. Johnson's 1,239 rushing yards were the most in Cardinals history since Ottis Anderson's string of 1,200-plus yard campaigns in the early 1980s.

The dual-threat running back was a fantasy darling, blessed with the unique combination of size and speed to run through and glide past opposing defenses.

However, Johnson's burgeoning career derailed in 2017. The tailback dislocated his wrist in Week 1 of the season and did not return until 2018. He inked a $39 million contract extension with Arizona ahead of the '18 campaign but did not see it through.

In one of the more lopsided trades in recent NFL history, Johnson was shipped to Houston in the 2020 offseason in exchange for star wideout DeAndre Hopkins. Johnson went with second- and fourth-round picks to the Texans in exchange for Hopkins and a fourth-round pick. The swap, executed by then-coach and general manager Bill O'Brien, was panned, and Johnson's production in Houston didn't help matters.

He spent just two years with the Texans, totaling 1,458 yards from scrimmage and nine touchdowns in 25 games played. (Hopkins, meanwhile, spent three seasons in Arizona, hauling in 221 passes for 2,696 yards and 17 scores in 35 games played.) Johnson closed out his career in 2022, logging 16 touches with the Saints.

Johnson leaves football with 4,071 rushing yards and 39 rushing scores on 1,007 attempts, plus 2,805 receiving yards and 18 receiving TDs on 277 receptions.

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