ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — New York Jets running back Chris Johnson and another passenger were shot in their shoulders while stopped at a traffic light in Orlando early Sunday morning, and the driver of the vehicle they were in was killed.
The NFL player and the other passenger, Reggie Johnson, were in stable condition at a hospital Sunday. A person close to Johnson confirmed it was the running back who was involved. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on Johnson’s behalf.
Sheriff’s deputies said another vehicle pulled up to the Jeep the men were in and opened fire. The Jeep’s driver, Dreekius Oricko Johnson, was killed.
Deputies said no arrests had been made, and investigators were seeking witnesses to the shooting.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Chris and everyone impacted by this tragic event,” the Jets said in a statement.
The shooting adds some uncertainty to Johnson’s playing career. While he is expected to fully recover, Johnson, who will be 30 in September, is still officially on the Jets’ roster but is due to become an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday, when the NFL’s new league year begins. The Jets cut ties with Johnson on Feb. 14, when they declined to exercise their contract option on him — meaning he will be free to sign with another team.
He was signed to a two-year, $8 million deal by the Jets last April, after six years with the Tennessee Titans, to provide a versatile presence in the backfield. But, he had his worst statistical season while splitting time with Chris Ivory. He ran for 663 yards — his first season under 1,000 — and one touchdown, while catching a career-low 24 passes for 151 yards and a score.
Johnson also rarely resembled the dynamic player with game-changing speed who ran for 2,006 yards in 2009, earning him his “CJ2K” nickname while with the Titans. He rushed for 100 yards just once last season, when he had 105 on 17 carries, including a 47-yard scamper, against Miami last December.
While it likely didn’t play a major role in the Jets’ decision to part ways, Johnson also was arrested in Orlando in January on a misdemeanor weapons charge.
Johnson has rushed for 8,628 yards and 51 touchdowns and caught 296 passes for 2,154 yards and nine TDs in his NFL career after being a first-round pick out of East Carolina in 2008.