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So, he took up a job on a fishing boat in Key West, Florida, reeling in mahi mahi to make ends meet.

Now, three years later and having put within the work, Johnson is a match-winning NFL operating again.
With the Cleveland Browns lacking their two beginning operating backs in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, Johnson took benefit, dashing for a career-high 146 yards and a landing within the Browns’ 17-14 victory over the Denver Broncos on Thursday night time.

In his first profession begin, Johnson seemed composed and explosive as he helped a depleted Browns workforce — additionally lacking beginning quarterback Baker Mayfield — to a victory which halted a two-game dropping streak.

His efficiency on Thursday earned reward from one of many Browns’ most well-known followers, NBA famous person LeBron James, because the 36-year-old tweeted: “D’ Ernest Johnson on 1 tonight!! Like to see it!”

And when Johnson was informed concerning the tweet, he seemed shocked, saying: “LeBron? Man, that is my favourite basketball participant; I am not going to deceive you … That is superb! LeBron James, respect it man. Which means rather a lot. Wow!”

Johnson leaps over Broncos safety Kareem Jackson during the first quarter.

It’s the fruits of an extended journey for the operating again, who additionally labored as a private coach earlier than signing for the Alliance of American Soccer league, the place he completed second within the league in dashing and scrimmage yards whereas with the Orlando Apollo in 2019.

Though he was initially signed by the Browns as an undrafted free agent in 2019, he had predominately featured as a kick returner on particular groups.

He appeared in all 16 video games in 2020, while additionally filling in the place wanted as a operating again, posting profession highs in carries (33) and dashing yards (166).

However it’s in week seven this season the place Johnson actually exploded onto the scene with the Browns needing an enormous efficiency with their stars on the sideline.

Johnson grew to become the third Browns operating again to have 100 or extra scrimmage yards in a sport this season, becoming a member of Chubb and Hunt. To place that in context, 5 NFL groups have but to have one operating again accomplish that in a sport this season.

“It is unexplainable. I wished to have fun however I did not know what to do. It has been an extended journey,” stated Johnson as he mirrored on how his fortunes have modified since 2018.

The victory means the Browns remained alive within the AFC playoff image, whereas it’s the Broncos’ fourth straight defeat.

Quarterback Case Keenum celebrates the Browns victory against the Broncos.

‘My delight is harm’

For Broncos linebacker Von Miller, it was maybe an much more painful defeat given the speaking he did beforehand.

Within the lead as much as Thursday’s sport, Miller stated: “I’ll have an ideal sport. I’ll go on the market, and going to need to play effectively and get a pair sacks.

“And if I do this then we’ll win … If I can play effectively and I can get sacks and I can discover a option to disrupt the sport, we’ll win. The stress is on me to play effectively.

“I do not know who the sort out is that I am going towards, however I’ll kill him. I’ll kill him. And the opposite man too, on the opposite aspect. I’ll play extraordinarily effectively and make performs for my workforce. I’ll set us up and win this sport for certain.”

Nonetheless within the disappointing efficiency, Miller was pressured to go away after injuring his ankle.

And the Tremendous Bowl 50 MVP stated his “delight is harm greater than something.”

“I talked lots of s**t earlier than this sport and I wished to make it private. I wished the animosity. I wished this to be that sport, and I wished to win it,” Miller stated.

“We did some good issues within the half and I felt like I used to be gonna do some nice stuff within the second half — however I acquired harm.”

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