David Johnson Has Something To Prove

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By SportsRadio 610
(SportsRadio 610) -- David Johnson is aware of the criticism. 

No way should he be the most valuable trade piece in a deal for a player of DeAndre Hopkins' caliber. 

The fourth-highest paid running back in the NFL? He hasn't rushed for 1,000 yards since 2016, the only time he's done it so far in his five-year career.

Johnson and a second round pick for Hopkins? Some have characterized it as one of the worst trades in NFL history, before any of the players have even taken the field for their new teams. 

Everyone's always doubted Johnson, he says. Even going back to high school in Iowa,  there were doubters. He eventually shined at the University of Northern Iowa and had a breakaway season for the Arizona Cardinals in 2016. 

Since then, Johnson's production has waned between injuries and adjusting to a new scheme in Arizona. 

"You can't please everyone. I've learned that as well in the league," Johnson said Friday on a conference call. "Everyone has something to say, especially with this social media getting so big with Twitter and Instagram and stuff. Everyone's talking behind a screen and there's always going to be something no matter what you do. You can be the greatest and someone will have something to say. I've learned a long time ago how to just ignore that and keep grinding, and keep making sure that I'm as prepared as I can be for Houston. I'm excited that Bill O'Brien came out and got me, and I'll be ready for them once I get there.”

While Johnson says he's not paying attention to the noise, he still has a chip on his shoulder and wants to return to his 2016 form.

"If not better than the 2016 season," he said. "I think the biggest thing, as everyone knows, is to stay healthy. I'm going to really hone in on everything that I can utilize with organization as far as recovery, making sure I do everything to keep my body healthy and be ready for the season."

O'Brien described Johnson on Thursday as a three-down back who can benefit the team in both the run and pass game. 

Johnson is also widely regarded as an excellent pro in the locker room and off the field. He spoke Friday about immediately wanting to get involved in the Houston community. 

"We were already planning on trying to do something effective to help out the pandemic for Houston and the state of Texas," Johnson said. "It's been really big for me and my wife just because for me in my upbringing, I had so much help surrounding me, molding me in who I am today, between coaches, teammates, teammates' parents. I had a lot of people driving me to football games, driving me to traveling basketball that helped me out – teachers as well, a big influence surrounding me. I just wanted to give that back and I just wanted to help out the less fortunate and be there for them and support them and help them get through daily struggles."

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