Former All-Pro Running Back David Johnson Announces NFL Retirement

Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) sidesteps a tackle attempt
Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) sidesteps a tackle attempt / Michael Chow/azcentral sports, Michael

Former All-Pro running back David Johnson announced his retirement from the NFL in a post onto his Instagram account on Sunday.

"Who would have thought this kid would be the first pro athlete to come out of small town Clinton, IA," Johnson wrote. "Chasing a dream when all but 2 D1AA college coaches thought I was good enough for a scholarship.

"I am blessed and very appreciative of the Cardinals drafting me in the 3rd round and I started my career hitting the ground running (literally) ! 2 games in, getting my uniform and cleats put in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. There's been highs and lows, but I've felt very fortunate and honored by the people who've supported me along this journey."

The 32-year-old spent eight seasons in the NFL, five with the Arizona Cardinals from 2015-19, two with the Houston Texans from '20-21 and most recently, the 2022 season with the New Orleans Saints.

Johnson, selected in the third round of the 2015 NFL draft, enjoyed a single-game breakout during a December 2015 game against the Philadelphia Eagles before an incredible 2016 campaign.

In his first year as a starter in '16, Johnson ran for 1,279 yards and 16 touchdowns, adding another 879 receiving yards, cementing himself as one of the league's best halfbacks in the process.

Johnson's 20 touchdowns in 2016 remain the Cardinals record for a single season.

The Northern Iowa product suffered a dislocated left wrist in the first game of the following season in 2017, an injury that would ultimately end his campaign. Aside from a bounce-back 2018 season, injuries robbed Johnson of a chance to rediscover the form that made him a Pro Bowler in 2016.

Johnson was dealt to the Texans in March of 2020 as part of the blockbuster trade that landed the Cardinals DeAndre Hopkins.

He spent two seasons in Houston, then signed with the Saints practice squad in November of 2022.

Johnson compiled 6,876 yards from scrimmage and 57 total touchdowns in 92 career games played.

Tim Capurso


Tim Capurso is a Staff Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Previously he wrote for RotoBaller and ClutchPoints, where he was the lead editor for MLB, College Football and NFL coverage. A lifelong Yankees and Giants fan, Tim grew up just outside New York City and now lives near Philadelphia. When he's not writing, Tim enjoys reading, exercising and spending time with his family, including his three-legged cat Willow, who, unfortunately, is an Eagles fan.