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Cardinals Sign Chris Johnson Once Again

Posted Jul 20, 2017

Running back arrives on a one-year deal for a third straight season

Running back Chris Johnson is returning to the Cardinals for a third season.

Chris Johnson’s time as an Arizona Cardinal isn’t over yet.

The veteran running back signed a one-year contract with the team Thursday, the third straight season he will play under a one-year deal. He’ll try to bounce back from a disappointing 2016 season that ended after Week Four because of a groin injury. Coach Bruce Arians hinted at such a move earlier in the week.

The Cardinals report to training camp Friday, with the first practice on Saturday. 

The team already had one open spot on its 90-man roster.

"It's not many running backs played 10 years or even NFL players played 10 years," Johnson wrote in an Instagram post. "But hey it's a blessing and I'm back at it again. So let's see where this season take(s) me. #JUICE #BIRDGANG #10KCHASE"

Johnson, who will turn 32 in September, had career-lows in attempts (25) and yards (95) last year because he played in just four games. He is 463 yards shy of 10,000 in his career.


He had missed just one game in his seven-year NFL career before signing with the Cardinals in training camp of 2015. He proceeded to gain 814 yards rushing in just 11 games, ranking among the league leaders before breaking his leg and ending his year. The injury opened the door for rookie David Johnson to take a more prominent role.

With David Johnson solidly entrenched going into 2016, Chris Johnson’s role diminished. He had 16 rushing attempts in the blowout win over Tampa Bay, but only nine carries in his three other games. He hurt his groin the same game as safety Tyvon Branch, and it was between the two of them who was going to get to be the lone player able to return from injured reserve later in the season.

Branch was the choice in November.

“I don’t think it’s the end of the road for me, just going off how my body feels, just going off the things that I was able to do when I did get in the game from training camp (forward) last year,” Johnson said then, after his season was officially over. “I know I’ve still got time left.”

(The NFL has changed the IR rule this season so that two players can now return after eight weeks.)

Johnson joins a crowded potential running back roster behind David Johnson. Veteran Kerwynn Williams spent the offseason as David Johnson’s top backup. The Cardinals drafted T.J. Logan in the fifth round, and also have Andre Ellington, Elijhaa Penny and undrafted rookie James Summers.

But Chris Johnson is expected to be the favorite to emerge as David Johnson's backup, given his experience and his other abilities, such as pass protection.

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