Duke Johnson has a decision to make about being in Miami

Dolphins hoping to retain former Miami Hurricanes star Duke Johnson

Back in 2012-2014, the Miami Hurricanes found a superstar running back by the name of Duke Johnson. He lit up the University of Miami, made fans chant out his first name in dramatic fashion as he ran for 1,652 yards in his final season there.

It took seven years, but Johnson finally found his way back home. After being drafted in the 3rd round of the 2015 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns, Johnson was used mostly as a scatback, more valued for his ability to catch passes than running the ball. Eventually he wound up in Houston, and after two seasons there, he agreed to sign on with the Dolphins.

It didn’t take long for him to pick up where he left off.

He ran for 107 yards in Week 15 against the New York Jets, his first time playing in Hard Rock Stadium as the home team since his UM days, and the crowd again chanted his name.

“It just reminded me of college,” he said after that game. “It felt like my college days again. Definitely enjoyed it.”

Johnson repeated the performance in the final week of the season against the New England Patriots, rushing 22 times for 117 yards and a touchdown. Again the chants rang out, and now the Miami Dolphins have a decision to make.

Do they keep Duke Johnson home in Miami?

“Me staying here? Like you said, it’s my home,” Johnson said after the game. “If I didn’t have to leave home, I wouldn’t.”

Naturally, after the performances he’s put together wearing aqua and orange, it seems a no-brainer that the Miami Dolphins should try to keep Johnson around. He’s looked far and away like the best running back on the team.

“I’m hoping that it does.” Johnson said about getting to come back next season. “How confident I am? I really don’t know. I really can’t say because again, it’s above my pay grade. But for me just having an opportunity to come back and play.”

According to Five Reasons Sports Network sources, the Miami Dolphins want to keep Duke Johnson around for at least another one more season, and have already expressed that to him. But Johnson, while staying in Miami would be an ideal situation, hasn’t committed to doing so just yet. Those sources say that Johnson is expecting interest elsewhere, and intends to explore all his options before he simply decides to return to Miami.

Again, his desire to stay home is genuine. But Johnson wants to explore his options to find a situation that will allow him the best chance for success. If he decides that’s in Miami, expect him back. If he sees a better opportunity elsewhere, Miami may have to throw a little extra incentive at him.

Miami still has Myles Gaskin and Gerrid Doaks on the roster. They can also try to retain Phillip Lindsay if Johnson opts to leave. Miami should also heavily consider finally addressing the position in a meaningful way in the draft.


Make no mistake, the Dolphins want to keep Johnson, and they should. But Johnson wants to see what options he has available before he plants his roots back in Miami.

Luis Sung has covered the Miami Dolphins for numerous outlets such as Dolphins Wire for seven years. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung


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