Andre Ellington looking forward to working with “a legend” in Chris Johnson

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Arizona Cardinals have a former 2,000 yard rusher in the house now in the form of Chris Johnson, who signed a one-year deal with the team on Monday.

In order to make room for Johnson on the 90-man roster, the team waived/injured safety Brandon Person, who tore the ACL in his knee in Saturday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

According to ESPN NFL insider Ed Werder, the deal will pay Johnson the veteran minimum of $870,000. As far as incentives go, Johnson has none for making the Super Bowl, but in order for his deal to bump up to $2 million, he has to make the Pro Bowl and rush for 1,300 yards this season.

Johnson’s résumé is pretty stacked. He’s a three-time Pro Bowl selection (2008-10). In 2009, he was a first-team All-Pro selection. It was the same year that Johnson was named NFL Offensive Player of the Year with the Tennessee Titans, after he led the league with 2,006 rushing yards, joining Eric Dickerson (2,105 yards), Adrian Peterson (2,097 yards), Jamal Lewis (2,066 yards), Barry Sanders (2,053 yards), Terrell Davis (2,008 yards), and O.J. Simpson (2,003 yards) as the only players to have rushed for over 2,000 yards in a season. Combined with his 503 yards receiving that season on 50 catches, Johnson set an NFL single-season record with 2,509 yards from scrimmage, breaking Marshall Faulk’s record of 2,429 yards with the St. Louis Rams in 1999.

Over the course of his seven-year career with the Titans (2008-13) and New York Jets (2014), Johnson has rushed for 8,628 yards and 51 touchdowns on 1,897 carries (4.5 yard avg.). Johnson also has 296 receptions for 2,154 yards (7.3 yard avg.) and nine touchdowns in 111 career games (99 starts).

Johnson came into the league as a first-round pick (24th overall) with the Titans in 2008 out of East Carolina. He earned Pro Bowl honors in each of his first three seasons (2008-10), and he posted six straight 1,000-yard seasons to begin his career. He ranks fifth among active players with his 8,628 career rushing yards. Johnson played in all 16 games for the Jets last season and ran for 663 yards and a touchdown on 155 carries (4.3 yard avg.).

Running back Andre Ellington couldn’t be more excited for the Cardinals to add another backfield weapon in Johnson.

“As many players as we can get in here to help us win a championship, I’m all for it,” Ellington said. “He’s (Johnson) a legend, (and) a guy I can learn a lot from, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Ellington says he patterned a lot of his game from Johnson when he was coming up in high school and college, which has clearly served him well so far in his career.

“Just how he (Johnson) set up blocks, and things like that,” Ellington said. “How he (Johnson) hit the hole, and how he makes a guy miss. Kind of studying things like that.”

“It gives (Cardinals head) coach (Bruce Arians) a lot of options when you have guys that can do a lot of things,” Ellington said. “The sky’s the limit for our offense. We just added another big asset, and we’re ready.”


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