From fishing boat to football star: Channel 3 running back is Cleveland Browns hero after ‘outstanding’ night

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Cleveland, Ohio (WJW) – Three years ago, D’Ernest Johnson was not in the NFL. He worked on a fishing boat to pay the bills.

Three days ago, no one had heard of him.

But on Thursday night, the 3rd string running back had a chance at prime time.

“You could tell after that game that he was waiting for this moment,” said the former Cleveland Browns running back Greg Pruitt.

“We might have lost that game if not for that performance we had from him.”

On a night when the stars and starters sat on the sidelines, a man who waited a long time for his shot finally got it. Johnson rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown in the Cleveland Browns (4-3) 17-14 win over the Denver Broncos (3-4) Thursday.

“Coming from a fishing boat, I always dreamed of playing in the NFL. Even playing in the AAF, I always dreamed of playing here in the league,” Johnson said after the game. being part of this team is a blessing. It’s always a dream come true to be able to be here. To be able to start and come here and help the team win is the best feeling.”

Cleveland fans may have felt a bit depressed, missing running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt and quarterback Mayfield Baker. But in the locker room, that was not the story.

“They basically told me to be me. Don’t change anything and be me. Keep doing what I’m doing and don’t change anything,” Johnson said.

For a player like Johnson, who may have been considered an underdog, there’s no better fit than a team like the Browns.

“We thought we had two of the best (running backs),” Pruitt said. “We could have three of the best.”

When Johnson reached the end zone, he was in disbelief at how far he had come.

“I wanted to celebrate, but I didn’t know what to do. I just screamed ’cause it’s been a long trip, man. To get your first start and get 100 yards and your first touchdown is none other than God,” he said.

Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski celebrated Johnson’s night after the win.

“For me, D’Ernest Johnson is a warrior and a great teammate. What he went through in his career and then to go and have an evening like that and end it the way he did on that, I thought was just exceptional,” Stefanski said.

Veteran backup quarterback Case Keenum, who handled things on the field while quarterback Baker Mayfield was on the sidelines, praised Johnson after the game, calling him a guy “that the locker room and everyone loves it”.

“Just a good person overall… [to] come here and have an amazing night like this and make great plays for us on the national stage,” Keenum said.

Johnson and the Browns will be the next division rivals to the Pittsburg Steelers (3-3) on Oct. 31.

Johnson’s advice? Trust the process.

“You have to trust the process no matter what you’re going through. You have to believe in yourself and trust God.

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