Ron Johnson (running back)

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This article is about the American running back. For other people with the same name, see Ron Johnson (disambiguation).
Ron Johnson
Ron Johnson vs. Navy 1967.png
Johnson against Navy in 1967 rushed for 270 yards
Date of birth: (1947-10-17) October 17, 1947 (age 67)
Place of birth: Detroit, Michigan
Career information
Position(s): Halfback
College: Michigan
NFL Draft: 1969 / Round: 1 / Pick: 20
As player:
Cleveland Browns
New York Giants
Dallas Cowboys
Career highlights and awards
Pro Bowls: 2
Honors: All-America (1968)
Records: NCAA single game rushing yards (1968-1971)
Career stats
Playing stats at

Ronald A. Johnson (born October 17, 1947) is a former professional American football halfback. A 1965 graduate of Detroit's Northwestern High School; Ron played football for the University of Michigan and then with the Cleveland Browns, the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League. His brother, Alex Johnson, played major league baseball for several teams and won the American League Batting title in 1970.

Johnson finished sixth in the 1968 Heisman Trophy voting. He was Michigan’s top student-athlete (1966-1968) where he received the Big 10 Medal (which is awarded to the most outstanding scholar-athlete in the school) and earned All-American honors his senior year at Michigan as a halfback. He also set the school record by rushing for 347 yards against Wisconsin in 1968, a record that still stands. In fact, Johnson still owns two of the top five single-game rushing performances in school history as follows:

Rank Name Attempts Net Yds Yds/Att Year Opponent
1 Ron Johnson 31 347 11.2 1968 Wisconsin
2 Tim Biakabutuka 37 313 8.5 1995 Ohio State
3 Jon Vaughn 32 288 9.0 1990 UCLA
4 Ron Johnson 26 270 10.4 1967 Navy
5 Denard Robinson 28 258 9.2 2010 Notre Dame


After graduating from Michigan with a Business degree, Johnson played for seven years (1969-1975) in the NFL as a first-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns and later played for the New York Giants. Ron rushed for 1,000 yards in 1970 and 1972, the first two 1,000-yard seasons in Giants history. Those were the only 2 winning seasons the Giants had between 1964 and 1980.

Johnson is a graduate of Michigan's Ross School of Business (1969). His brother, Alex Johnson, was a professional baseball player.

Johnson is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.[1]

While with the Giants, Johnson lived in Fort Lee, New Jersey.[2]

After retirement[edit]

In 2006, Johnson was named the chairman of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, becoming the organization’s fifth chairman in 59 years. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1992.

After retiring from professional football, Johnson started a food service company in 1983. In 2008, Johnson was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. His son Christopher has taken over managing the business, and Johnson is currently residing in a residential care facility. [3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Michigan Football Statistic Archive Query Page". Regents of the University of Michigan. 2003. Retrieved 2007-12-06. 
  2. ^ Harvin, Al. "An Offseason Game; New Jersey Sports", The New York Times, January 12, 1973. Accessed November 16, 2008. "Some of the other Jersey residents on the team, according to Davis, are Bob Tucker, the New York Giants' tight end from Lincroft; Phil Villapiano, Oakland Raider linebacker from Ocean Township, and Ron Johnson, Giant running back, now a resident of Fort Lee."
  3. ^ Rhoden, William C. (18 September 2011). "Ex-Giant’s Case Is a Window on N.F.L. Aid". New York Times. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 

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