Jacksonville Jaguars New RB D’Ernest Johnson Happy To Be Playing Close To Home

D'Ernest Johnson

The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed free agent running back D’Ernest Johnson.

Johnson, the Immokalee, Florida native and University of South Florida football standout, spent the last four seasons with the Cleveland Browns.

He did not get many opportunities as RB3 behind Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, but when he did, he gave it everything he had.

Johnson does not take for granted one minute of his NFL opportunity because he worked so hard to make it happen.

And now his journey continues close to home, and Johnson could not be happier.

Johnson’s NFL Journey

Despite a stellar college career where he set USF records for multi-purpose yards, receptions, and receiving yards by a running back, Johnson went undrafted in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Johnson was invited to New Orleans Saints rookie minicamp as an undrafted free agent but was signed by the Saints.

His dream was temporarily thwarted but not finished; he decided to spend the rest of 2018 on a fishing boat reeling in mahi-mahi in Key West.

He contacted every Alliance of American Football team on his own and finally got a tryout with the Orlando Apollos.

In eight games of AAF action, Johnson rushed for 372 yards and added 220 receiving yards.

When the AAF went under, he was not out of work for long.

He signed with the Browns in May 2019 and worked hard to make the 53-man roster.

Johnson played more on special teams than on offense, but he was always grateful to the Browns for giving him the chance to fulfill his dream.

“Slow Grind” Prevails

Johnson carries the nickname “Slow Grind” which he says is more of a lifestyle, and it describes how he handles adversity.

In 2022, he explained the concept to cleveland.com:

“Slow grind works for anything, anybody, whatever they’re going through and they’ve got a goal that they’re chasing, they’ve just got to stay focused on it because it’s not going to come fast, it takes time.”

He epitomizes perseverance, and his story got nationwide attention on the Today show last year.

It is hard not to like Johnson or admire his story.

He was beloved in Cleveland.

Browns fans wish him plenty of success in his next chapter in Jacksonville.

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