Cleveland Player Abruptly Retires 2 Days After Signing Rookie Contract - Report


Running back L.J. Scott accomplished something relatively few college football players ever do — he got signed by an NFL team.

But two days after Scott was signed by the Cleveland Browns on Monday, he walked away from the team.

“Source close to LJ Scott tells me LJ has decided to not play football and has left the #Browns,” WFMJ’s Dana Balash tweeted Wednesday.

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On Thursday,’s Mary Kay Cabot tweeted that Scott had been waived by the Browns.

“#Browns have signed RB D’Ernest Johnson and waived Youngstown native RB L.J. Scott of Michigan State,” Cabot tweeted.

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Scott played four years at Michigan State and gained 2,855 yards on 4.7 yards per carry.

He only played five games in his senior season, which was cut short by injuries, though he rushed for 898 yards on the ground as a junior and 994 yards as a sophomore.

The Youngstown, Ohio native finished as the ninth all-time leading rusher at Michigan State.

He went undrafted this year, but got tryouts with the Ravens and Browns, according to Bleacher Report. The Browns signed him to a rookie contract on Monday.

Even the Michigan State fan site Spartan Avenue was left wondering what happened with Scott.

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“Sure, he’s one of the most naturally-talented athletes who has come through Michigan State in quite some time and he’s even drawn some favorable comparisons to Le’Veon Bell, but maybe he lost the love for the game,” Spartan Avenue’s Connor Muldowney wrote Friday. “He had a nightmare 2018 season which capped off a curious career that saw him break out as a freshman, nearly hit 1,000 yards as a sophomore, take a step back as a junior and barely make an impact as a senior.”

“It seems like a classic case of a kid who has had to fight his whole career for respect and may have spent all his time trying to please others while not really focusing on himself,” Muldowney added.

D’Ernest Johnson — a 5-foot-10, 208-pound running back out of South Florida — was tapped to replace Scott, reported.

Johnson is coming off a stint with the Orlando Apollos of the now-defunct Alliance of American Football.

He gained 372 yards on the ground with the Apollos, according to

In his senior year at South Florida, Johnson rushed for 796 yards and racked up 153 receiving yards on 11 catches.

Johnson joins a crowded Browns backfield that includes Nick Chubb, Duke Johnson Jr., Dontrell Hilliard and Kareem Hunt, who has been suspended for the first eight games of the season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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