Though he has missed the past two games — and most of a third — due to an ankle injury, Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson pronounced himself fit on Wednesday.
Regarding his status for Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Johnson repeated his statement in case there was any doubt. “I’m definitely playing,” he said after practice. “I’m definitely playing. I’m good. I’m 100 percent. I’m ready to go.
“… I was close [last week], but I was just listening to trainers. They had my best interest and knew what the smart decision was.”
Johnson, listed as a full participant for Wednesday’s practice by the Cardinals, has battled injury much of the season. He started the Week 7 game against the New York Giants but barely played, gaining only 2 yards on one rushing attempt.
In seven games this season, Johnson has 300 yards on 77 carries and two touchdowns. He also has 30 catches for 315 yards and three more scores.
Before Johnson’s comments Wednesday, Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury was asked whether his running back was ready.
“I think we’re close, so hopefully we see what we want this week and we’ll get him back out there,” Kingsbury said.
With other injuries in the backfield, Arizona made an Oct. 28 trade with the Miami Dolphins to acquire Kenyan Drake, who gained 110 yards on 15 carries and scored in his Cardinals debut. Drake also made four catches for 52 yards in the 28-25 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 31.
Johnson, 27, believes he and Drake can work together in the same backfield.
“I think he’s a guy who can also catch the ball that I’ve heard,” Johnson said of Drake. “And so just bringing different variations to the offense, different weapons, ways to get the balls in both of our hands, and being utilized when we’re both on the field, it’s going to be tough on defenses.”
In other moves Wednesday, the Cardinals released linebacker Zach Brown, who was just signed on Friday, activated offensive lineman Max Garcia from the physically unable to perform list and placed defensive tackle Clinton McDonald on injured reserve.