Hold up. Might be time to tap the brakes a bit on this particular story.
Monday, Jim Harbaugh indicated that oft-injured running back Drake Johnson had decided to bring the curtain down on his football playing career. “He’s not going to continue with football. … Medically, emotionally — it just hasn’t been (there),” the Michigan head coach said.
Tuesday afternoon, however, mlive.com, citing a source with direct knowledge of the situation, is reporting that Johnson is still seeking a sixth season of eligibility from the NCAA. “And, if that waiver goes through — and Johnson is physically able to compete — he does have an open invitation from Harbaugh to be a part of the 2017 team,” the website writes.
Whether Johnson would take advantage of the sixth season remains unclear, but the fact that he’s at least pursuing the medical hardship waiver indicates that, on some level, the running back hasn’t made a final decision on retiring from the sport.
Given his medical history, though, one could hardly blame him if he ultimately opted to walk away.
Johnson tore the ACL in his left knee, while scoring a touchdown, in the loss to Ohio State to close out the 2014 season. In the 2013 opener, he tore the ACL in the same knee and missed the remainder of the season.
Returning in 2014, Johnson was the Wolverines’ third-leading rusher in 2014 with 361 yards. His four rushing touchdowns were tied for second on the team.
In 2015, he ran for 271 yards and another four rushing touchdowns as he started one of the 12 games in which he played. The rushing yards were second on the team.