The David Johnson speculation can be put to rest.
The All-Pro running back returned to the Cardinals on Monday, practicing alongside teammates on the first day of training camp for rookies, quarterbacks and injured players at the team facility in Tempe. Johnson skipped mandatory minicamp in hopes of getting a contract extension, and while there has been no deal, he decided to report on time.
Johnson said he had several discussions with his representation this offseason on the best plan of action, ultimately opting against a holdout. The Cardinals will head to University of Phoenix Stadium with their 90-man roster on Friday and Johnson will be among them.
“I’m here to play football,” Johnson told azcardinals.com. “I trust my agency, Sportstars, and I know they’ll get it done when the time comes.”
Johnson said contract talks between his camp and the Cardinals’ front office are progressing. He is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and while the running back market is a hard one to gauge, each side is hopeful.
“The Cardinals want me to play for them for a long time, and I want to be here for a long time,” Johnson said. “So definitely things are going in a positive way.”
Johnson, who could report early after he finished last year on injured reserve with a dislocated wrist, is excited to be back with his teammates. He thought it was important to begin the 2018 journey at the same time as his teammates.
“Being here for the team, for the players, for my brothers,” Johnson said.
The holdout speculation has overshadowed Johnson’s return to the field after missing all but one game in 2017. While his agents work on hammering out a new contract, Johnson said his focus will be returning to elite status on the field.
“That’s my biggest thing,” Johnson said. “Coming back from 2016, and being a better 2016 David Johnson. And really, proving to everyone that I’m back and good to go. I’m excited to go. I can’t wait to actually get it started on Friday. It feels good to be back.”