Cleveland Browns running back Duke Johnson is not showing up for workouts this week.
When former Kansas City Chiefs star running back Kareem Hunt signed with the Cleveland Browns, there was tons of confusion outside of the organization. Obviously, the signing of Hunt could’ve been a good move for any team who is in search of a running back, but for the Browns that wasn’t really the case.
Cleveland had two solid running backs available last year. They started off with Carlos Hyde leading the pack, then felt confident enough to trade him away as they would ride with Nick Chubb for the rest of the season. Assuming that Chubb leads the pack in 2019, everybody expected Duke Johnson to keep his role as a rotational backup.
With the signing of Hunt though, the situation has changed. Since Hunt will miss the first eight games of the season due to suspension, the Browns will need some backup help for their backfield. Apparently, though, it doesn’t seem like Duke Johnson is all that interested in taking on the temporary role once again. So for that, he won’t be showing up to workouts. . . For now, he won’t, at least.
Is Duke Johnson holding out?
Kitchens said RB Duke Johnson did not report today. Did not want to speculate if it had anything to do with Kareem Hunt signing. #Browns
— Tom Withers (@twithersAP) April 1, 2019
Typically, when a player skips voluntary workouts, it means one of two possible things. One is that they want a new contract. Considering that Johnson isn’t viewed as some high-profile running back, that’s clearly not the case. So Johnson’s absence is most likely due to the fact that he wants to be traded away so he can find himself in a better role.
This thought isn’t far-fetched, as the Browns have been in trade discussions over the last month or so regarding Johnson. Apparently, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys were two potential suitors for Johnson. Since the Eagles recently traded for Jordan Howard, that most likely rules them out. Leaving the Cowboys as a possible landing spot for Johnson to go.
So far, there hasn’t been any word on why Johnson hasn’t shown up. But there’s some obvious speculation that he intends on getting traded sooner than later. At this point, it’s becoming evident that Johnson wants more of a prominent role with a team. He no longer wants to remain as a third-stringer.