Arizona Cardinals

Cardinals 4th-round pick Dorian Johnson says liver condition has never affected his play

(Nate Guidry/Post-Gazette)

The Arizona Cardinals’ fourth-round pick Dorian Johnson isn’t concerned about a liver condition he’s had his entire life as some NFL teams were during the first two days of the NFL draft.

Johnson dropped to the Cardinals in the fourth round Saturday, reportedly because teams were scared off by his health. In a conference call with reporters in Arizona, Johnson said the condition hasn’t affected his career to date.

“It hasn’t affected me in my playing whatsoever,” Johnson said. “But I guess a lot of teams saw it as a red flag and thought it would prohibit the way I was going to play.”

Johnson said his liver enzymes are five times higher than normal, but the 22-year-old said he didn’t know the condition’s name off the top of his head, except that it was a “really long word.” Johnson said he treats the condition with medication.

“I guess it raised a lot of concerns,” Johnson said. “I’m completely healthy. No issue with it.
“I’m absolutely not worried about it at all.”

After starting three games at Pittsburgh at left tackle during his freshman season, Johnson was moved to left guard and flourished. He started 39 straight games at left guard, becoming an All-American last season.

Johnson, who was graded as one of the top players at his position in this year’s draft, said he was surprised teams passed on him.

“I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t,” Johnson said. “I was expecting to go a lot earlier. It is what it is. I’m just truly grateful to have this opportunity to play for the Cardinals, and everything happens for a reason.”

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