Injuries slow down Duke Johnson’s pro career at Cleveland Browns

Duke Johnson smiles at an assistant coach during his streatches before the game. Cayla Nimmo // Photo Editor
Duke Johnson smiles at an assistant coach during his stretches before the game. File Photo // The Miami Hurricane

Duke Johnson is having a rough start to his professional career.

The Cleveland Browns selected Miami’s all-time leading rusher in the third round of the NFL draft last May. The former Cane suffered a concussion in the Browns’ preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday.

Cornerback Mike Jenkins blasted Johnson while he was in the air trying to catch a pass in the second quarter. Johnson has been ruled out for Cleveland’s final preseason game against the Chicago Bears on Thursday. Browns coach Mike Pettine hasn’t said how long Johnson will be out for the team.

The concussion on Saturday is just the latest setback for Johnson. The Miami Norland Senior High School graduate missed the previous three weeks of training camp with a strained hamstring. If Johnson can stay healthy, the Browns would like him to be their starting running back.

Staying on the field wasn’t a problem for Johnson in college. The 5-foot-9, 207-pound running back played in all 13 games for the Hurricanes last season and in all 12 games as a freshman. A fractured ankle against Florida State memorably ended Johnson’s sophomore season after eight games, but he recovered to rush for 1,652 yards on 242 carries as a junior.

Johnson is the Hurricanes’ all-time leading rusher with 3,519 yards on the ground.