CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns running back Duke Johnson Jr. did not have to wait long in order to find new representation.
Just two days after it was reported that Johnson Jr. parted ways with south Florida entertainment and sports attorney Kristin Campbell, who negotiated his multi-year contract extension with the Browns last offseason, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said the versatile running back has signed with well-known agent Drew Rosenhaus of Rosenhaus Sports.
“Johnson still is expected to seek a trade,” Schefter tweeted. “Keep in mind, Rosenhaus helped facilitate a trade for the Browns and his client, Emmanuel Ogbah, and got Breshad Perriman out of his deal in Cleveland.”
Johnson Jr.’s future with the Browns has been the topic of much debate and discussion since the organization signed controversial Pro Bowl ball-carrier Kareem Hunt in early February, and the questions grew louder when he did not show up for the voluntary portion of the offseason program.
On the first day of the mandatory minicamp in early June, Johnson Jr. clearly stated his desire to be traded before the start of the 2019 regular season.
“I just think it’s better for me to get ahead of this, and if I’m going to be with a new team, I prefer it be before midseason just to give me a fair shot with the new team and just a chance to actually make a difference and play,” Johnson Jr. said of his request.
“Going in midseason is kind of tough, as you’ve seen with Carlos (Hyde). It’s tough just getting in there because they have their guys, they have their system and you’ve just got to play catch-up.”
After leading the Browns with 74 catches during the 2017 season, Johnson Jr. caught just 47 passes and got 40 carries in 2018. Despite the lightened workload, Johnson Jr. averaged a career-high 5.0 yards per carry and matched a single-season personal best with three touchdown receptions.
Selected in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft after a record-setting career with the University of Miami, Johnson Jr. has rushed for 1,286 yards and five touchdowns with 71 first downs and five 20-yard bursts on 299 carries over 64 games in four years with the Browns.
Johnson Jr. has converted his 235 catches into 2,170 yards, eight touchdowns, 29 20-yard plays, two 40-yard efforts and 103 first downs.
Johnson Jr.’s issue with the Browns is that he “was put on the trade block a month before I requested a trade.”
“I won’t be causing scenes and losing focus on what’s really important,” Johnson Jr. said. “I won’t do that, and the reason I waited until now to do a media interview is because I didn’t want to take away from the team while I was home and not here. So, I waited until I got here to do an interview because I didn’t want to be a distraction.
“It’s about being a professional. There’s a lot of things at your job that you don’t like and you’re not happy with, but that doesn’t mean you don’t do your job. You still do your job.”