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Cardinals’ David Johnson ‘welcomes’ 30 touches per game

Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson, right, looks for running room as defensive back Patrick Peterson (21) arrives for the tackle during NFL football training camp Saturday, July 29, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
LISTEN: David Johnson, Cardinals running back

The Arizona Cardinals have a premiere running back in David Johnson. And just like anything of great value, it’d be wise to take care of him.

But the Cardinals also, of course, want to maximize production from Johnson, who enters his third season in the NFL, already with a Pro Bowl and All-Pro recognition to his name. After leading the league in yards from scrimmage last year, he figures to be an enormous weapon for Bruce Arians and the Cardinals.

“I definitely welcome that,” Johnson said Wednesday in an interview with Bickley and Marotta on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station.

He was asked about getting a whopping 30 touches per game.

“Like I’ve been always saying, I love having the ball in my hand,” Johnson continued. “Like coach Bruce Arians has mentioned, it’s not 30 (touches) rushing the ball, it’s 30 touches whether its a receiver going against a corner — it’s a lot easier on my body — or even doing a five-yard out and then getting out of bounds and not even getting contacted.

“There’s so many different ways to get 30 touches that it’s not really just rushing the ball.”

Running backs overall suffer from one of the worst average career lengths among NFL positions. According to Statista, NFL running backs have an average career length of about 2.57 years. Incurring a high workload probably doesn’t help in that regard.

“Back in the day, that might have been a tough thing. Now, with technology in recovering, especially with all of the stuff that we’ve got as a franchise — we’ve got the UV bed, the H2O breathing, cryotherapy, obviously have the reliable ice tubs and stemming and everything — there’s so many new advancing technology out there that can keep my body healthy.

“And also, back in the day, they might not have learned so much about nutrition and how important it is to have a good diet and stretching and continuing to keep my endurance up.”

Johnson was asked about the UV bed in particular, which he said looks like a tanning bed.

“It’s not the normal bright white lights — it’s red lights. You lay in the bed … about 15 minutes. The UV really contracts on the muscle and on the blood cells and makes them work hard to rejuvenate all the muscle tissue.”

For a player as elite as Johnson, it’s imperative for him and the team to do everything they can for D.J. to stay healthy. If he can keep up his production, he could someday find himself enshrined in Canton.

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