Oct/08/12 11:24 PM Filed in: Andre Johnson
HOUSTON — Larry Coker, the former Miami Hurricanes' coach, admits Houston Texans receiver Andre Johnson was “a little hard to get to know.” That was because, and it remains the case today, Johnson doesn't say a whole lot ... with his mouth.
As Coker came to realize, though, Johnson's attitude, attention to detail and unwavering accountability — in the classroom, too, not just on the practice field — were sufficiently eloquent.
“I still hold him up as an example when I'm talking to my kids today,” said Coker, now in his second season of building a football program from scratch at UTSA. “Andre's size, speed and athleticism set him apart, but it's the other stuff you remember. You want all your players to take care of business like he did. He hasn't changed any, has he?”
No, coach, he hasn't.
“Every day, ever since I've been here, it's hard to get Andre to say anything, let alone complain,” Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison said. “He never complains. He just works.”
Johnson is a full decade into his Texans career and likely just one ordinary — for him — game shy of 10,000 receiving yards. He goes to New Jersey to play the Jets on the cusp of becoming the sixth-fastest player in NFL history to get there.
Johnson needs 76 yards Monday night. Over the 126 games he has played, his average is 77.5. That's the second highest behind Marvin Harrison, who spent his career catching passes from Peyton Manning.
Johnson's quarterback for his first four pro seasons was David Carr on a talent-thin, confidence-shy expansion team. It took him until the end of that fourth year as a Texan before he could celebrate as many pro victories as he enjoyed in two seasons at Miami. Still, he calls himself “fortunate” to have remained a Texan, to have been an integral “part of building something.”
“In this day and time, for a player to stay the course with an expansion franchise like he did through some very tough times tells you what he's all about as person,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. “His career has been excellent, but we're all happy we finally gave him a good football team to work with.”
Johnson admits he's proud of his prodigious statistics.
“(They say) I've been able to do something very productive since I've been here playing,” he said. “That means a lot.”