D.C. United and U.S. national team striker Eddie Johnson could be facing a premature end to his playing career.
According to a tweet from the Washington Post's Steven Goff, lawyers and the MLS Players' Union have gotten involved as a means to settle Johnson's contract with the team due to health issues.
D.C. United anticipating salary cap relief this year bec of Eddie Johnson health issues. Career likely over. Lawyers & union involved— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) April 9, 2015
Johnson has yet to train or play with D.C. United in any capacity this season as he sought treatment and diagnosis for an unreleased heart condition.
Goff previously reported that Johnson first noticed the condition on the eve of United's Eastern Conference semifinal second leg game against the New York Red Bulls. The striker was diagnosed with an enlarged heart then, but was cleared to play and came on as a 60th-minute substitute in the game.
If Johnson hangs up his boots, it brings to an end one of the most talked-about careers in the recent history of U.S. soccer. After turning pro with the Dallas Burn (Now FC Dallas) at the age of 17 in 2001, Johnson became one of the first young American stars to make his name in the domestic league. The Bunnell, Florida native scored 24 goals in 84 appearances over five season in Dallas before making a move to Kansas City. It was there that Johnson earned his move abroad with a 15-goal season in 2007.
Overseas, Johnson struggled, failing to hold down a regular place in England at Fulham, Cardiff City, and Preston North End, and in Greece with Aris Thessaloniki. In seven years abroad, Johnson scored just seven goals.
He returned to form upon his return with MLS in Seattle, however. Johnson scored 14 goals with the Sounders in 2012, re-establishing his place with the U.S. national team, with which he earned 63 caps, scored 19 goals, and represented his country at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, 2007 Copa America, and the 2007 and 2013 Gold Cups.
However, the striker often found himself in headlines that had nothing to do with goals. Most recently, Johnson went on a Twitter tirade against fellow U.S. national teammate Brian Ching last year, and in 2013 he celebrated a goal by mouthing the words "pay me" after his Sounders shelled out record money to acquire Clint Dempsey.