Browns coach Freddie Kitchens believes Duke Johnson will still have a role with the team.
The 25-year-old running back reportedly asked Cleveland to move him this offseason and he did not report to the team’s voluntary offseason workout program last week. Kitchens was asked about Johnson when he met with reporters this weekend.
“At this point in time, him asking for a trade doesn’t matter to me,” Kitchens said, via ESPN. “He’s a Cleveland Brown. Duke’s the type of the guy who’s going to show up and he’s going to do his job and he’s going do his job well. That’s all I can ask for as a coach. His demands, I’m not impacted by that one bit.”
Cleveland is expected to start Nick Chubb — who impressed as a rookie — at running back next season and Johnson was pushed further down the depth chart when the team signed Kareem Hunt in February.
Hunt will serve an eight-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy to start 2019.
“Duke’s under contract,” Kitchens said. “I don’t know where all this trade talk started happening. People just assumed we would trade him because we signed another good football player (Hunt). I like good football players, and I like as many as I can get.
“It’s our job to get him the ball and enable him in whatever role that is. Duke Johnson is on this football team and will have a vital role on this team and will help us win football games. Am I surprised he’s still here? No, not one bit. I have never said anything different than that.”
Johnson received a career-low 40 carries and tallied just 201 yards on the ground last season. He did add 429 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
The Jets, Texans and Eagles have all reportedly shown some level of interest in Johnson this offseason.