The Cleveland Browns signed fullback Johnny Stanton to the reserve/futures list on Tuesday.
Stanton, who is 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds, joined the Minnesota Vikings in 2018 as an undrafted free agent out of UNLV. He landed in injured reserve that first season, and then spent part of the 2019 season on Minnesota’s practice squad.
The Vikings released Stanton from the practice squad on December 10 and he has now found his way back to a familiar face in head coach Kevin Stefanski, who spent the past 13 years with the Vikings.
It has been quite a journey for Stanton, as zonecoverage.com chronicled in 2018. A quarterback in high school, Stanton committed to Nebraska but tore his left ACL during his senior year in high school and missed his freshman season with Nebraska.
Stanton returned for his second season in 2014 and threw one pass. He was not a part of Nebraska’s training camp roster the following spring, so he transferred to Saddleback College, throwing for 27 touchdowns and rushing for 12 more.
He then transferred to UNLV for the 2015 season, but a ligament tear in his right knee limited him to just four starts. Stanton came back for his senior year as a linebacker, but returned to quarterback for the final three games of the season, throwing four touchdowns and rushing for two more.
That second turn at quarterback allowed Stanton to give everyone a taste of what he could do running the ball, according to zonecoverage.com:
“They had some designed runs for me. They often used me like a third-down running back when I was in the game. As I like to say, I’m gonna run through you, not around you.”
The Vikings brought Stanton in for a tryout as a tight end before eventually moving him to fullback.
When a team signs a player to a reserve/futures contract they have to wait until the start of the new league year on March 18 to add the player to the 90 roster for the offseason. Once that happens, Stanton will be eligible to take part in offseason workouts, minicamps and Organized Team Activities.
If nothing else, Stanton will go down as the answer to the future trivia question of who was the first player that Andrew Berry signed as Cleveland’s general manager.