Rudi Johnson

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Burudi Ali "Rudi" Johnson (born October 1, 1979 in Petersburg, Virginia) is a former running back for the Auburn Tigers who spent eight seasons in the National Football League and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2004.

Johnson began playing football at age six with the Ettrick Trojans of the Chesterfield Quarterback League. At Thomas Dale High School in Chester he played both offense and defense for Victor Williams' Knights team, breaking Henry Jefferson's career rushing record.

After graduating, Johnson enrolled at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas. He helped the Grizzly Bears win back-to-back National Junior College Athletic Association championships in 1998 and 1999 and averaged 7.3 yards per carry in his second year. In that year's championship game against Dixie College he ran for 375 yards and scored 7 touchdowns. He was named NJCAA "Player of the Year" for that season. After completing a two-year degree at Butler, he transferred to Auburn University, recruited by coaches Tommy Tuberville and Eddie Gran.

At Auburn, Johnson finished his career with 324 rushing attempts for 1,567 yards (4.84 yards per rush average). His 324 rushing attempts set a school single-season record and his 1,567 rushing yards were the second-most in the school's history. He had ten games where he rushed for 100 yards or more.

He was drafted by the Bengals with the fifth pick of the fourth round (100th overall) of the 2001 NFL Draft.


Johnson saw little playing time in his first two NFL seasons. He backed up three-time Pro Bowler Corey Dillon, the Bengals leading rusher since 1997, and had just 17 carries and 7 receptions. But Dillon missed much of the 2003 season with injuries, and Johnson found himself in the starting lineup. He rushed for 957 yards and 9 touchdowns, while adding another 146 yards on 21 receptions in just 9 games. Johnson's contributions helped the Bengals improve from a 2-14 record in 2002 (the worst in franchise history,) to an 8-8 record in 2003, only their second non-losing record in 13 years.

Dillon was traded to the New England Patriots after the 2003 season and Johnson was named the Bengals starter. During the 2004 season he set a franchise record with 1,454 rushing yards. He also scored 12 touchdowns and was named to the AFC Pro Bowl squad. The Bengals duplicated the previous year's 8-8 record.

In 2005, Johnson shared tailback duties with former University of Michigan running back Chris Perry, a Bengals' first round pick in the 2004 NFL draft. Cincinnati finished with an 11-5 record, the team's first winning season since 1990. Johnson broke his own record with 1,458 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, while also recording a career high 23 receptions for 90 yards. In the 2007 NFL Draft, the Bengals chose another Auburn running back, Kenny Irons, with their second round pick.

During the 2007 season, Johnson missed five games to injury, and had only one game in which he rushed for over 100 yards. He finished with 497 yards on 170 carries for 3 touchdowns. In August 2008 he was released from the team. He signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions and spent one season there, amassing 237 yards in 76 attempts with 1 touchdown, before leaving the league.

During his NFL career, Johnson amassed 5,979 rushing yards on 1,517 carries and another 676 yards on 113 receptions and a total of 52 touchdowns.

In retirement, Johnson moved to Miami, Florida.


  • "Rudi Johnson" (July 15, 2013) Wikipedia - accessed October 1, 2013