Former Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson has opened up about why he has not returned to the NFL, blaming former Lions head coach Matt Patricia for his career-ending injuries. Johnson was drafted by the Lions in the second round of the 2018 draft and played for them for four seasons. However, his career was marred by numerous injuries that ultimately forced him to retire.
Kerryon Johnson Blames Patricia for Injuries
Johnson’s social media comments came ahead of the official start of free agency, where he was asked why he had not returned to the football field in the past 12 months. Johnson replied that “playing for a military general left me down 2 knees and a neck.” The former Lions player was referring to the negative experiences he had while playing for Matt Patricia. Patricia was often compared to a military general by both players and fans alike.
Patricia’s Negative Reputation
Matt Patricia’s tenure in Detroit was marked by controversy. Multiple players complained openly about how players were treated and practice decisions were made. Former Lions defensive backs Darius Slay and Quandre Diggs have regularly shared their opinions about negative experiences with Patricia and the “Patriot Way” mentality that was adopted in Detroit.
In November 2018, Patricia made headlines when he recited a 900-word response to reporters after an unusual decision was made to practice outdoors in the snow. This was despite the team having a month of climate-controlled games upcoming. The decision was widely criticized, and many players felt that it was unnecessarily harsh and put their health at risk.
Johnson’s Career Stats with the Lions
During his time with the Lions, Kerryon Johnson appeared in 34 games, rushed for 1,225 yards, and scored eight touchdowns. He was placed on injured reserve twice during his tenure in Detroit. The first injury happened during his rookie season when he sprained his left knee in a Week 11 game against the Carolina Panthers. Johnson was placed on injured reserve again in October 2019, after undergoing knee surgery. Despite playing all 16 games in 2020, Johnson was only utilized as a pass-blocker and on third down. He only saw 52 total carries his final season in Motown.
Lions Fans Support Johnson
Lions fans have been supportive of Johnson since his comments about Patricia came to light. Many fans believe that Johnson was a hard-working player who gave his all for the team. They feel that he deserved better treatment than he received under Patricia’s leadership.
Despite his injuries, Johnson was a fan favorite in Detroit, and his retirement was met with sadness by many fans. They will always remember him as a talented running back who gave everything he had for the Lions, and they hope that he will find success in whatever he does next.
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Featured Image Syndication: Detroit Free Press