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Rudi Johnson prior to the 2007 Monday Night opener.
|Date of birth:October 1, 1979|
|Place of birth: Petersburg, Virginia|
|NFL Draft: 2001 / Round: 4 / Pick: 100|
|Debuted in 2001 for the Cincinnati Bengals|
|Last played in 2008 for the Detroit Lions|
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Burudi Ali "Rudi" Johnson (born October 1, 1979) is a former American football running back who played eight seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the fourth round of the 2001 NFL Draft.
Johnson was selected to the Pro Bowl with the Bengals in 2004 after leading the AFC team in rushing. His bruising style of nose to the grindstone running Johnson made quite a reputation, and led to nicknames such as "The Auburn Rambler".
Rudi Johnson was born in Petersburg, Virginia, approximately 30 miles south of Richmond. His first name "Burudi" is Swahili and means "cool'" and his middle name "Ali" represented his family's respect and admiration for Muhammad Ali. He began playing football at the age of six with the Ettrick Trojans of the Chesterfield Quarterback League. During his high school career, he played both offense and defense for the Thomas Dale Knights under head coach Victor Williams, following in the footsteps of Ken Oxendine and William Henderson. During his career, he broke the school's rushing record which was held by his friend, mentor and coach Henry Jefferson.
Butler Community College
Johnson played for two years at Butler Community College. He led Butler to two national championships, defeating Ricks College in 1998 and Dixie College in 1999. His most memorable performance came against Dixie College in the championship game in which he ran for 375 yards and scored 7 touchdowns. He was subsequently named NJCAA "Player of the Year".
At Auburn University, Johnson finished his career with 324 rushing attempts for 1567 yards (4.84 yards per rush average). His 324 rushing attempts was a school single season record and his 1567 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 named SEC player of the year and nominated for the Doak Walker Award which was later won by LaDainian Tomlinson. He was a sociology major. His fullback was Heath Evans who would later go onto the NFL as well. NFL running back Ronnie Brown was also a teammate.
|Ht||Wt||40-yd dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20-ss||3-cone||Vert||Broad||BP|
|5 ft 10 in||227 lb||4.57 s||1.60 s||2.56 s||4.22 s||7.32 s||37½ in||9 ft 11 in||24 reps|
|All values from NFL Combine|
Dillon missed much of the 2003 with injuries, and Johnson unexpectedly found himself in the starting lineup. He took full advantage of his opportunity, rushing for 957 yards and 9 touchdowns, while adding another 146 yards on 21 receptions in just 9 games.
After Dillon was traded to the New England Patriots following the 2003 season, Rudi Johnson was named the starter. He did not disappoint, starting every game and setting a franchise rushing record with 1,454 yards. He also scored 12 touchdowns and was named to the AFC Pro Bowl squad.
Johnson was a major contributor in 2005 season, in which the Bengals reached the playoffs for the first time in 15 years. Johnson remained the starter as a punishing runner providing the running game needed to complement quarterback Carson Palmer and wide receiver Chad Johnson (Ochocinco). Chris Perry, former University of Michigan running back, joined the backfield as the Bengals' first round pick in the 2004 NFL draft. At the end of the season, the Bengals finished with an 11-5 record, the team's first winning season since 1990. Johnson broke his own franchise record with 1,458 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns while also recording a career high 23 receptions for 90 yards.
During the 2007 season, Johnson missed five games to injury, and he 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, it was reported that the Bengals were interested in trading Johnson for a "top receiver" to shore up their battered receiving corps, which would leave Chris Perry as the new feature back and either Kenny Watson or DeDe Dorsey as his backup. Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis denied any trade talks involving Rudi Johnson. "It's a rumor," he stated. However on August 27, Johnson stated he expected to be gone "any minute." After a trade fell through, Johnson was released by the team on August 30 during final cuts.
Johnson signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions on September 1, 2008. The Lions released running back Tatum Bell to make room for Johnson. The following day Johnson accused Bell of stealing his luggage although Bell insisted "it was just an honest mistake." 
The Rudi Johnson Foundation was established in July 2005. The Foundation provides assistance to families and children to promote self-sufficiency and self-reliance and incorporates several community based programs. In 2007, James Farrior of the Pittsburgh Steelers joined the effort, establishing his own Foundation to assist in this movement. The Foundation helped fund the organization of the first football team for Clark Montessouri High School in Cincinnati. The Foundation is a strong supporter of Be The Match, the national registry of the National Bone Marrow Registry, and regularly organizes and conducts donor drives to recruit minorities.
- "Rudi Johnson Draft Profile". NFLDraftScout.com.
- Bengals Shopping Rudi Johnson
- Lewis: Rudi Johnson trade talk 'a rumor'
- Rudi: I'll be gone 'any minute'
- Willie Anderson, Rudi Johnson cut by Bengals[dead link]
- accuses Bell in luggage theft; Bell calls situation misunderstanding