Cleveland Browns running back D’Ernest Johnson was in Key West fishing before he got called up to the team

Cleveland Browns running back D’Ernest Johnson was in Key West fishing before he got called up to the team
Cleveland Browns running back D'Ernest Johnson (30) runs against the Indianapolis Colts during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/AJ Mast) (Source: AJ Mast)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Everyone has a backstory for how they made it, but D’Ernest Johnson has quite the tale.

Before he was scoring touchdowns for the Browns in the preseason he was in Key West fishing.

Cleveland Browns running back D'Ernest Johnson (30) cuts away from Indianapolis Colts safety Khari Willis (37) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Cleveland Browns running back D'Ernest Johnson (30) cuts away from Indianapolis Colts safety Khari Willis (37) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) (Source: Michael Conroy)

The rookie back had a solid performance against the Indianapolis Colts last week and is making his case for a spot on the 53-man roster.

The South Florida native played in the Alliance of American Football League last season, alongside quarterback Garrett Gilbert. - So their connection last week was natural.

“The first thing he did was pass protect. He is a great pass protector. He can change direction. He has good body control and good body balance, and he holds onto the football.”
Freddie Kitchens on D'Ernest Johnson

The peculiar part about Johnson’s story is he didn’t know if he’d get an opportunity again.

After the AAF disbanded he was at home, working out and doubling as a fisherman in South Florida.

Johnson is just happy to be around football again

“Last year, I was out of football for a whole year so it was tough. I use that as motivation from me being out of football. I do not want to go back to that so I am just trying to do anything in my power to make the team. Whether that is special teams or whatever they want me to do, just do it to the best of my ability.”

"I talk to him a good bit, and I never even though to ask him, ‘Hey did you ever work on a fishing boat? How the hell did you do that?’”
Freddie Kitchens

“You never know where they’ll come from," Kitchens said following practice.

Johnson will get the opportunity to prove himself over the next few days, and he’s hoping to contribute big Friday night (&:30 p.m.) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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