'It prepared me': Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson on growing up as a triplet

Posted at 4:47 PM, Sep 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-27 19:47:40-04

Perhaps no two people prepared David Johnson more for a career in the NFL than his sisters Danielle and Darnecia.

Yep, along with being one of six children, the Arizona Cardinals running back is a triplet -- a fact that helped him gain the kind of mentality that pro football players need in order to succeed.

"I think it prepared me to get along, be able to be sociable with everyone. Getting used to having everyone around you is probably the biggest thing," Johnson told ABC15.

SEE ALSO: 5 things you don't know about David Johnson

In his rookie NFL season, the Cardinals' 2015 third-round NFL Draft pick was a revelation, as he helped carry the Cards to the NFC Championship Game after starting running back Chris Johnson (no relation) went down with a season-ending injury.

This year, the 24-year-old Johnson has picked up where he left off, as he's among the league's leaders in total yards and rushing touchdowns.

But to Danielle and Darnecia, David is still the same kid who tried to get them to play sports while they tried to get him to play jump rope.

"I think for them, it's hard to believe," David said of his immediate success in the NFL. "They see me as just a normal person and brother. It's hard for them to believe, especially when they see it in the news and stuff. They're just loving the moment."

David, Danielle and Darnecia got along well as they grew up, though they didn't always have the same interests in activities.

"We always played outside. They always tried to get me to play Double Dutch and I always tried to get them to play basketball," he said. 

"We had a blast growing up. It was never a dull moment. We always had family and friends to hang around with, especially my sisters. We always hung around and did a lot of stuff."

Growing up in Iowa and playing college football for FCS program Northern Iowa, Johnson was largely under the radar entering last year's draft. In fact, he said most scouts didn't recognize him and had to read his name tag to identify him.

But the Cardinals noticed him -- and the rest of the NFL has, too.

It's a fact that's still difficult for Danielle and Darnecia to wrap their heads around.

"I've always been at a small school -- high school and a small college -- and now to be in the big leagues doing what I do, helping out the team, it's definitely something that's hard for them to fathom," he said.