Former NFL star Chris Johnson faces trouble in Florida amid accusations he funded a murder-for-hire scheme in 2016, according to a report from TMZ.
The running back, known for his speed and a 2,000-rushing yard season in 2009, was accused recently for playing a part in a shooting that left two men dead, according to court documents obtained by TMZ. Johnson, who retired in 2018, has denied any wrongdoing in the case.
The investigation is part of a case into drug trafficking in Florida. Johnson is accused, but not charged, in both the murder and drug trafficking schemes.
The 34-year-old was shot in the shoulder in 2015 in Orlando, Fla., and the attack killed his friend, Dreekius Johnson. Authorities reportedly think the shooting was gang-related, and that gang member Dominic Bolden, funded by the former NFL star, later killed the two men responsible for the first shooting.
“In the court docs, officials claim an informant told them as a reward for Bolden’s alleged actions … Chris helped the guy become a leader of a famed drug trafficking organization (DTO) in Florida,” the TMZ report said. “The informant told officials that Johnson supplied Bolden ‘with funds and an individual who could continually supply Dominic Bolden with as much narcotics as needed to supply the DTO.”
The informant also reportedly told officials the murder for hire elevated Bolden’s rank, reputation and power within the DTO, eventually making Bolden the organization’s de factor leader.
Johnson’s representatives told TMZ “there’s no validity to any of these accusations.”
The Tennessee Titans made Johnson, an East Carolina product, the 24th overall selection in the 2008 NFL Draft. In his second season with the Titans, he led the NFL with 2,006 rushing yards and was named First Team All-Pro.
He spent six seasons in Tennessee, gaining at 1,000 yards each year, but never achieved those numbers again. He signed a free-agent deal with the New York Jets in 2014, gaining 663 yards. He ended his career with the Arizona Cardinals, rushing for 1,023 yards in 19 games over three seasons (2015-17).
Johnson gained 9,651 yards on the ground and scored 55 touchdowns in his career. He added 2,255 receiving yards and nine scores.