David Johnson didn’t lead the NFL in rushing this year. In fact, he didn’t even finish in the top five. But his goal is to retire as the NFL’s all-time rushing king, which would mean toppling Emmitt Smith’s 18,355 yards.

Johnson, with 1,820 rushing yards through two seasons, is still a long ways off, but make no mistake: he’s one of the best running backs, if not the best running back, in football. 

“I love the game,” Johnson said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I definitely want to be the best at the position where people are talking about me like we do talk about Emmitt Smith. I want to be the guy that breaks records and helps teams excel throughout the season and win Super Bowls.”

Johnson, 25, certainly has the talent to do that. This past season, he rushed for 1,239 yards, caught 80 balls for 879 yards and scored 20 touchdowns (16 rushing, four receiving). By his own admission, he could have easily had 1,000+ receiving yards if not for a route-running miscue here and there, but Johnson remains one of the most dangerous weapons in football. 

He just needs to meet his idol.

“I have not met him yet,” Johnson said, referring to Smith. “He actually was in Arizona the week I wasn’t there last year, and I just missed him. He left the day I got back.”

If given the opportunity, Johnson would ask Smith what he did to become such a great player. 

“What was his workout routine in the offseason?” Johnson wondered. “What did he do in between practices? (What did he do) during practices? Practice is more of scheming for each team. I want to know what he does individually, the drills that they do to help out their game. How does he handle certain things – the fame and all that stuff?”


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