HOUSTON — Despite dealing with injuries since his breakout 2016 season, Texans running back David Johnson says he is not concerned about his durability going forward.
Since rushing for 1,293 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2016, Johnson’s production has been on a steady decline. He fractured his left wrist in the third quarter of Week 1 in 2017, missed the rest of the season and has yet to regain the form that once earned him All-Pro honors.
“Guys get nicked up, get injuries all the time, so you can’t really predict what’s going to happen,” Johnson said on a conference call Friday. “I know that I’m going to do everything that I can to be ready and keep my body as healthy as possible. I think that the biggest thing that I’m going to really focus on is doing overtime as far as keeping my body healthy.
“Just like I was telling my wife,” he added, “just going back to my rookie year of doing everything that I can to make sure that my body is healthy and starting a clean slate for sure with a new team.”
The Texans acquired Johnson, a 2020 second-round pick and a 2021 fourth-round pick for wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and a 2020 fourth-round pick.
Johnson dealt with a back injury early last season before an ankle injury kept him out of most of the Cardinals’ Week 7 game against the New York Giants as well as the following week’s game against the New Orleans Saints. Arizona traded for running back Kenyan Drake the week of the Saints game.
The day before trading Johnson for Hopkins in March, the Cardinals used the transition tag on Drake, who played well down the stretch for Arizona.
Asked about his 2019 season in Arizona, Johnson said, “I think last season was just rough.” He played in 13 games, finishing with 345 yards and two touchdowns on 94 carries.
“I had little nicks and bruises with some minor injuries, nothing major,” Johnson said. “[Cardinals coach] Kliff [Kingsbury] told me that they were going with the hot hand with Chase [Edmonds] and then with Kenyan, and it was just tough to bounce back from that.”
Johnson said he was “very excited” when he heard about the trade, calling his move to Houston “a new beginning.”
The 28-year-old Johnson, who signed a three-year, $39 million extension in 2018, has a cap hit of nearly $11.2 million in 2020. He is owed $9 million in 2021, but just $2.1 million is guaranteed.
“It was excitement from the start, and basically I have that chip back on my shoulder,” said Johnson, a 2015 third-round pick. “Ever since I’ve been in the league, I’ve always had that chip. My biggest thing is I just want to get back to 2016, if not better than the 2016 season. I think the biggest thing, as everyone knows, is to stay healthy.”