Andre Johnson

Andre Johnson has no issues with reduced role in Indy

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Andre Johnson may not be having the type of season many envisioned when he signed as a free agent after 12 standout seasons with the Houston Texans, but that doesn't bother Johnson.

The seven-time Pro Bowler has caught 24 passes for 288 yards and three touchdowns thus far, and is on pace for the worst statistical season of his career. In last Sunday's win over the Broncos, Johnson failed to record a catch for the third time this season.

“Anybody would like to go out and catch six, seven balls a game, but that’s not what it is,” Johnson said, per ESPN. “Like I said before, it could be my day today, somebody else’s day tomorrow. The biggest thing about when you’re trying to achieve that ultimate goal, you have to do things that have never been done before. I was out there run blocking. But it’s part of it. I’m embracing every part of it. It’s different for me, but I don’t have a problem with it.”

The 34-year-old's best game of this season came in his October return to Houston when he caught six passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns. It was the only time this year Johnson has caught more than four passes in a game.

Johnson, though, said he has no issue accepting a smaller role if it helps the team win.

“I think now people are so caught up in fantasy football,” Johnson said. “We hear it all the time. (Fans) get upset with you when you don’t catch a pass. People can say whatever they want or feel however they want to feel. I sleep good at night. I’m not really caught up with people have to say. I’ve had a great career. I’ve got a lot of passes and gained a lot of yards. I don’t really get caught up in what the outside people have to say.”

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TD Streak Extended - 3 TDs Scored

THREE #‎proCane TDs were scored in Week 7 of the NFL!

#‎Dolphins RB Lamar Miller, #Panthers TE Greg Olsen, #Colts WR Andre Johnson

Lamar Miller’s TD extended the streak to 14 straight weeks a #proCane has scored a TD in the #‎NFL.

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Andre Johnson: Leads all receivers Monday

Johnson caught four passes (on eight targets) for 81 yards and a touchdown in Monday night's overtime loss to the Panthers.

Johnson's 81 yards marked a season-high and actually led all players Monday night, when heavy rain made catching the ball no easy task. The veteran also helped kick-start the Colts' fourth quarter comeback with an 18-yard touchdown catch, his third score through eight games this season. On the whole, Johnson can be encouraged by his performance Monday, which came against one of the league's best defenses, but his Week 9 matchup versus the Broncos poses yet another stiff test.

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TD Streak Extended - 4 TDs Scored

FOUR #‎proCane TDs were scored in Week 5 of the NFL!

#‎Jags WR Allen Hurns (1), #‎Colts WR Andre Johnson (2), #Colts RB Frank Gore (1)

Andre Johnson’s TD on Thursday night extended the streak to 11 straight weeks a #proCane has scored a TD in the #‎NFL.

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Bill Belichick keen on stopping Colts' Frank Gore, Andre Johnson

When the New England Patriots take the field against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night, they'll be focused on two savvy veterans. Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton are two of the team's biggest playmakers on offense, but Bill Belichick wants to make sure Frank Gore and Andre Johnson don't break loose.

"I think that Gore’s really looked good," Belichick told reporters Tuesday. "There are a lot of great examples of him running the ball downhill, breaking tackles and getting positive plays. Johnson had a big game last week against Houston, but both those guys, it looks like they are still productive, and we’re going to have to deal with the size and physicality and experience of both of them."

Gore and Johnson haven't had the best seasons thus far, but there's no doubting their ability to make an impact. Gore has averaged 4.3 yards per carry this season, while Johnson has just 128 yards receiving in five games. However, Johnson burned the Houston Texans for six catches, 77 yards, and two touchdowns in Week 5.

The Patriots are likely to face Luck this week rather than Matt Hasselbeck, who's started the past two games for the Colts. Belichick understands that it could have an impact on how often Johnson and Gore get the ball, but he's preparing for everything possible.

"It’s always hard to tell what somebody else’s game plan is," Belichick said. "Something is working, and they were getting the ball to Johnson, you keep doing it. How much of that was Hasselbeck related, game plan related, or just how the game unfolded? I’m not sure, but we have to be ready for all of them, and those two guys are certainly two players I personally have a lot of respect for, the kind of careers that they’ve had, but they’re playing very well now and we’re going to have to do a good job to control them."

Sunday's matchup has huge implications, not only for this season, but from last season as well. It was the AFC Championship game against the Colts that started the Deflategate saga, and it's the first meeting between the two teams since then.

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Andre Johnson: There was never a doubt I can still make plays

Never underestimate the "Revenge Game" factor.

Indianapolis Colts receiver Andre Johnson entered Thursday night's tilt with the Houston Texans -- the team for which he had played the past 12 years -- looking like a shell of himself. In the four weeks with his new team prior to Thursday night, Johnson had caught seven passes for 51 total yards and zero scores. He had gone the previous two weeks without a catch.

Then, on Thursday, the 34-year-old pass catcher caught six passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns, helping the Colts to a 27-20 win.

Following the contest, NFL Media's Deion Sanders asked Johnson if there was every any doubt in his mind that he could still make plays.

"There was never a doubt," Johnson said. "Just the transition, going to a new team, playing more in the slot, you know that was different. So just trying to adjust and I knew once I had opportunities I would go out and make the plays, so that's what I did."

Despite the early season struggles and age sapping some of his separating speed, Johnson said he was never frustrated with his new team.

"Naw, I was never frustrated," he said. "I'm serious, I was never frustrated. I just looked at it as a new experience. I just took it all in stride."

After spending a dozen years in Houston, where he is the franchise leader in receptions (1,012), receiving yards (13,597) and receiving touchdowns (64), Johnson insisted the game wasn't about revenge.

"A lot of people probably thought this was a 'get back' game for me or something like that. It was never like that," Johnson said later, via the Indy Star. "I just wanted to use my role. I was involved a lot more today and I was able to go out and make the best of my opportunities. That's the way I looked at it. I just wanted to do what I needed to do to help the team win."

Perhaps Johnson wasn't seething to burn his old team, but his two scores sure helped do that anyway.

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Andre Johnson emerges in return to Houston

HOUSTON — He wouldn’t say much this week, but that’s not unusual. Andre Johnson is not a verbose man. He speaks softly, never raising his voice, never hinting at his mood. Hear him talk and you’d never be able to tell if he’s just finished with 15 catches for 225 yards and three touchdowns … or if he’d had no catches and dropped three passes.

The Indianapolis Colts’ most expensive offseason addition was the invisible man through four games. He looked old, looked slow, looked like he was never open.

Then he went home to Houston and started playing like Andre Johnson again.

The 34-year-old wide receiver was the sparkplug the Colts desperately sought – and needed – in Thursday night’s 27-20 victory over the Houston Texans, which by no coincidence came on the night Johnson played his first game in NRG Stadium wearing a visiting team’s jersey. He spent 12 years in this city but left in March, the franchise’s all-time greatest player and the victim of a messy divorce from the only NFL team he’s ever known.

In case you forgot, Houston, this guy can still play.

“Probably up there," Johnson said when asked where this ranked among the games he's played at NRG Stadium. "This is the team you played for for 12 seasons and you come back and get a win against them and it’s pretty big.”

He put together a better 60 minutes of football than his four previous games combined, finishing with six catches for 77 yards and two touchdowns, not to mention his finest night as a Colt – by far.

The perpetually quiet Johnson needn’t say much Thursday night.

His play did plenty of talking.

“Four weeks – that’s a preseason," quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. "Everyone knows Andre Johnson can play. The dude’s for real. We knew that. That’s never wavered for us. Again, I think it’s like fantasy football sends people into panic mode. He’s a great player, has been for a long time and still is.”

For the second straight week, it was Veteran’s Day for the Colts. Johnson led the way, but don’t discount the contributions from the 40-year-old Hasselbeck – 18-for-29 for 213 yards and two touchdowns – and 32-year-old running back Frank Gore – 22 carries for 98 yards and a touchdown.

On this night, age was just a number. Those three were the team’s best players on offense.

Throughout his monthlong slump, Johnson has sounded like the 12-year vet he is. He pleaded for patience, saying time and again he knew precisely what he got himself into when he signed with the Colts during free agency. He was a weapon joining an offense loaded with weapons – he wouldn’t be the featured target like he was for more than a decade in Houston. And he was fine with that. He never complained. He kept working, quietly, the way Johnson’s always worked.

But on Thursday night, wearing Colts’ white instead of Texans’ blue, Johnson exploded. If he was trying to prove a point – that he’s not done just yet – consider it proven.

“A lot of people probably thought this was a ‘get back’ game for me or something like that. It was never like that," Johnson said. "I just wanted to use my role. I was involved a lot more today and I was able to go out and make the best of my opportunities. That’s the way I looked at it. I just wanted to do
what I needed to do to help the team win.”

It didn’t hurt that Hasselbeck's throws were on the money, or that the much-maligned offensive line put together its best effort of this young season. But take nothing away from Johnson. He came to play. He made a difference for the first time as a Colt.

“Anytime you’ve been somewhere for 12 seasons and you make a change, it’s challenging,” Johnson conceded this week. “But at the same time it’s an experience and I’m just rolling (with it). I don’t have any regrets on any decisions I’ve made.”

He rolled with it Thursday. By night’s end he’d moved up to sixth on the NFL’s all-time receiving chart, passing Isaac Bruce.

Most important was that Johnson got the win.

The longtime Texan left Houston with 1,012 catches for 13,597 yards and 64 touchdowns.

Before Thursday, he was the invisible man in Indianapolis. No more. Finally, Andre Johnson arrived as a Colt.

"Everybody knew the start that (No.) 81 had and not one word," coach Chuck Pagano said. "You guys know, you were in the locker room. You can see his personality, see his mannerisms, see his character, and not one time did he ever, and that’s why he’s a hall of famer. He’s a great player. He’s a great human being. He’s a great person. He’s a great teammate."

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How Andre Johnson and Frank Gore reunited as Colts

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- It had been 14 years since they shared a national title at the University of Miami, and reconnecting, as it turns out, didn't take much for Frank Gore and Andre Johnson.

"It was really just a phone call," explains Johnson. "Two guys felt the same way about an organization, and they both made a decision to go try and get the job done."

The phone call -- which Gore placed to Johnson -- happened in March, just minutes after the Houston Texans announced they were releasing Johnson, ending his career there as the greatest offensive player in franchise history.

"It didn't really hit me until it was actually put out in the media," Johnson said. "Once that happened, I was just sitting in the house like, man ... what am I going to do? I had never been in that situation before."

Gore, meanwhile, knew exactly what Johnson was going through. Despite 49ers CEO Jed York promising to find a way to bring Gore back for 2015, the team opted to instead let their all-time rushing leader walk away a free agent. When reminded of his final game in San Francisco, Gore's easy-going smile fades.

"I cried coming off the field," he recalls. "They say they want you to be here, they want you to be here forever, they want you to retire [with them]." Gore shakes his head. "In your heart, you really know."

When Gore called Johnson that day, it was not to vent about his current situation. In fact, Gore had nearly made the move to Philadelphia to join head coach Chip Kelly. Kelly's other offseason moves, however -- which included the departures of running back LeSean McCoy, wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and quarterback Nick Foles -- made Gore uneasy.

"I know Chip is a great coach, but you have to have the right guys on the field who have the respect in this league. Seeing the pieces moving around, I don't know if I want to do that."

Gore called Johnson again.

"I said man, 'What you going to do?' He said, 'I don't know, it just happened,'" laughs Gore. "He said, 'I got you bro, I'll keep you in the loop.'"

Gore made it easy for Johnson to keep him in the loop -- he kept calling. And calling. And calling.

"The next day he called back again, 'what's up, man? Like, you hear anything?'" Johnson recalls with a laugh. "So, the third time, we talked. I asked him, 'Be honest, what team you think can win a Super Bowl right now?' He said, 'I like the Colts.' So, in my mind when he said that I was like, that's my team."

This summer in Coral Gables, Florida, home to their alma mater, Johnson and Gore worked out together, preparing for the first time in their careers to play for a different team than the one that signed them over a decade ago. Now, teammates once again, they sit together in the Hurricanes' Athletic Hall of Fame room, a place where Johnson has already been inducted as one of the most dominating receivers in the school's history. They are surrounded by photos and mementos of past Miami greats -- Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Reggie Wayne ... the list of future NFL Hall of Famers in that room seems endless, which made for a difficult roster to join as an incoming freshman.

"When I first got [to Miami], I see these big guys I'm like man, I don't know. I think I made the wrong decision in my head," recalls Gore, who almost went to Ole Miss over Miami. His pride in his choice still shows, as he is dressed in a bright orange and green tank top -- U colors -- and zebra striped shorts. "I was like, 'I have to get better.' That helped me as a football player."

Johnson, who's patterned Jordan T-shirt shows off the numerous arm tattoos going up his biceps and down his forearms, agrees. "I had to go through the same thing. You had to earn your stripes, and you were going to be challenged as soon as you walked in the door. When you first go through it you wonder, is it really like this? Am I this far behind? But at the same time, it's just adjusting to that next level of football."

Johnson's willingness to join Gore in Indianapolis goes back further than the national championship season they shared at Miami; their friendship began long before that.

"Our high school teams were rivals, and my mom and his mom went to high school together," explained Johnson. "[My mom] was telling me about this kid, Frank Gore, that plays running back. I just kind of kept up with his career, and what he accomplished ... it was pretty amazing."

Coming out of Dade County, Florida, both players had impressive high school careers. Johnson, coming from Miami Senior High School, was named first-team All-State and All-City, catching 31 passes for 908 yards and 15 touchdowns during his senior season. Gore, two years behind him at Coral Gables Senior High School, set a Dade County record for rushing yardage in a season in 2000 with 2,953 yards and 34 touchdowns. The two earned each other's respect almost immediately.

"He made it look so easy, you know?" recalls Gore of Johnson's high school days. "I just heard around the neighborhood how good of a guy he is and how hard of a worker he was. So, the night we played him, I stood up the whole game, to really see if he was the real deal. He just dominated. He could do [anything] on the field in high school."

Seventeen years after that game in Coral Gables, Gore and Johnson would board a plane to Indianapolis together, in hopes of signing with the Colts. Gore's process went quickly -- signing a three-year, $12 million deal. Johnson's deal didn't go so smoothly.

"I kind of got frustrated with the process," recalls Johnson. "Coach [Chuck Pagano] said, 'I'm not letting you leave until you sign the contract. ... Frank, you can go ahead and take the plane and go back home.'"

"I said no," said Gore. "I'm going to wait right here with him." Gore would wait in an outside hallway at the Colts facility for almost two hours while Johnson and his agent negotiated terms with the team. Finally, Johnson emerged, sporting a Colts baseball cap and a newly signed three-year, $21 million contract. Gore was ecstatic.

"He just took off running down the hall," remembers Johnson. "He jumped on me, gave me a big hug and we were just like, 'Let's go do it.'"

So far? It's been some frustration. The Colts aren't living up to preseason expectations, and both players have had ups and downs. But the two remain optimistic.
They've been around a long time, and it's a long season.

"Whenever you play any team sport you want to win trophies. You want to be known for winning the Super Bowl," explains Gore. "Knowing [Andre], watching him in high school, being at UM and knowing what he did in the NFL, it'd be a real blessing to finish our career with a trophy."

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Andre Johnson prepares to return to Houston

Aside for the continuing drama over Andrew Luck's health, perhaps the biggest storyline for the Colts entering Thursday night's game against the Texans is wide receiver Andre Johnson's return to Houston.

Johnson, who spent 12 standout seasons with the Texans before being released in March, signed with Indianapolis during free agency. He is Houston's all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns caught. 

"I know what I did when I played there for 12 seasons and the people who were there at the games know what I did and the people who work in the organization know what I did," Johnson told reporters Tuesday, per ESPN's Tania Ganguli. "They have a right to their own opinions. That’s all that matters. If they boo me, they still deep down in their heart know what kind of guy I was, know what kind of guy I was on the field, know what kind of guy I was in the community. They have a right to their own opinions. We’ll see what happens."

The 34-year-old Johnson, who was the Texans' first-round pick in 2003, said his departure from Houston was prompted by the team.

"When you spend your whole career with one team, you kind of feel like you’ll end your career there," Johnson said. "It didn’t happen, but that’s the nature of this business and you just move on from it."

The seven-time Pro Bowler has seven receptions for 51 yards through the Colts' first four games.

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What has happened to Andre Johnson?

For the first five years of Kylie Johnson’s life, daddy worked at NRG Stadium. She’d dial his cell phone and they’d chat – before practice, after practice, before games, after games. Andre Johnson would tell his daughter he was at work, then he’d quiz her on what that meant.

“Oh, I know where you are,” Kylie would say. “You’re at NRG Stadium.”

He’d smile.

“You’re right,” Andre would tell her.

The first change of address of Johnson’s 13-year NFL career came in March, when the greatest player in Houston Texans' history was released following a messy divorce with the team that drafted him third overall in 2003 and paid him roughly $88 million in the years since. The free agent wide receiver lasted on the open market all of two days. Forty-eight hours after he was cut, Frank Gore was leaping into Johnson’s arms inside a hallway at the Indianapolis Colts’ West 56th Street facility. The former college teammates and longtime friends had signed their new contracts with their new team.

The reunion was complete. They'd start over in Colts' blue.

Thus NRG Stadium went from Johnson’s home to Johnson’s former home. Except to one person. Kylie wasn’t buying.

“At first, she didn’t believe me,” Johnson remembered. “I was trying to explain to her that I was going to play for a new team in a different city. She would shake her head. She was like, ‘No you’re not. You can’t be.’”

It was all foreign to Johnson and his tightly-knit inner circle, which includes Kylie, his mother, Karen, and uncle Andre Melton. Houston was the only NFL home they'd ever known.

“He really wanted to retire there,” Karen said last spring.

Instead, transition. A new office, one Kylie learned eventually, called Lucas Oil Stadium. A new team. A new number. A new quarterback. A new role.

Yet a month in, the Colts are still waiting for Andre Johnson to arrive.

The numbers are alarming: The team’s most expensive offseason addition on offense has been targeted just 20 times in four games. He’s caught just seven passes for 51 yards. Seven catches for 51 yards? That used to be a half’s worth of work for Andre Johnson.

Now the fear is it’s his new reality.

“Obviously we’d all love to see him have more catches to this point,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “I know he would. But he’s a selfless guy. He’s going to keep working and keep grinding.”

There’s more. There’s the fact that Johnson has more drops so far (one) than touchdowns (zero). There’s three three targets and no catches in the last two games.There’s this startling statistic: In 169 career games with the Texans, Johnson went catchless in a game just once; it's already happened twice with the Colts.

Not exactly the return on investment – Johnson signed a three-year, $21 million deal in March – the Colts (2-2) were hoping for.

“Anytime you’ve been somewhere for 12 seasons and you make a change, it’s challenging,” the eternally even-keeled Johnson said Monday inside the Colts’ locker room. “But at the same time it’s an experience and I’m just rolling (with it). I don’t have any regrets on any decisions I’ve made.”

This week he returns to NRG Stadium (8:25 p.m. Thursday, CBS, NFL) for the first time as a visitor while doubts about his age and ability swell around him.
No longer is the question, Can Andre Johnson play like the Andre Johnson of old?

No, it’s worse than that. Now it’s, Can Andre Johnson still play at all?

“If there was ever a game that he would have a better day, it would be this week,” said Colts backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who threw Johnson’s way just twice in 47 pass attempts Sunday. “He’s a pro. I know the production might not be there for fantasy football, but he does everything we ask him in practice, and he’s a done a good job.”

But still. Two looks on 47 throws? T.Y. Hilton was targeted 11 more times than Johnson on Sunday. Coby Fleener was targeted 10 more. Just as concerning as his quarterbacks’ repeated refusal to look his way in games is Johnson’s inability to create separation from the opposing secondary. It seems on most downs Johnson’s the third, fourth, even fifth option. Is Hilton open? Nope. How about Donte Moncrief? Nah. What about Fleener? Or Phillip Dorsett?

Johnson, for stretches, seems to disappear.

Hasselbeck, in part, chalked it up to his new role: Johnson, throughout his career, has primarily has played out wide. With the flurry of weapons at the Colts’ disposal, he’s frequently lined up in the slot this season.

“He’s playing inside more than he’s used to,” Hasselbeck said. “I think he’s doing a good job. We haven’t been lights out (on offense) across the board. I’m sure that will come. We’ll break through as we go.”

To hear Johnson tell it, this is what he signed up for. He wasn’t naïve about the situation he walked into with this offense last spring. There are weapons abound. Patience, on this squad, during this season, will be Andre Johnson’s most valuable virtue.

“You have to be realistic with yourself,” he said Monday. “Coming into this situation, I knew what could happen and so when you’re realistic with yourself and not thinking above and beyond what can happen, then you’ll be fine and you can deal with it.”

What’s clear is this situation isn’t like his last one. Johnson averaged 84 catches per season in his 12 years in Houston and had five seasons with 100 or more. He made seven Pro Bowls. He’s gone from The Man to The Forgotten Man.

Perhaps most puzzling: Johnson was dominant in training camp in August. He was the 34-year-old receiver who looked 24, springy and sure-handed, a benefactor of what appeared a seamless transition into Pep Hamilton’s pass-happy offense. The rapport was so palpable between he and his new quarterback their steady production seemed like a forgone conclusion this season. Luck to Johnson. Luck to Johnson. Luck to Johnson.

Then the season started. Then Johnson disappeared.

Johnson didn’t have much interest in reliving his glory days in Houston on Monday. Not after a second straight week that produced more questions than catches.
“Everybody is asking me how I feel,” he said. “I won’t know how I’ll feel until I experience it.”

That comes Thursday. And with it, another chance for Johnson to prove to his new employer – not to mention his old one – that, at 34, he's not done just yet. One of his new teammates isn’t worried.

“He’s a true leader,” Hilton said. “His character shows it. Even when he’s not getting the ball, he’s helping us out. He’s always happy. Just seeing him out there knowing things aren’t going his way, the first thing I said when I walked in this locker room was, ‘I need you this week.’ I expect a big week out of him."

For Johnson, Thursday’s game – which conveniently takes place in the city where his NFL career began – seems like the perfect place to start.

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Andre Johnson still searching for his comfort zone with the Colts

INDIANAPOLIS – The Houston Texans didn’t think wide receiver Andre Johnson was good enough to start for them anymore. The Indianapolis Colts thought differently. That’s why the Colts signed him to a three-year, $21 million contract in the offseason and made him a starter opposite T.Y. Hilton.

But three games, seven receptions, 18 targets and 51 yards later, the Colts are still waiting for the receiver who tormented them during his 12 seasons with the Texans to find his comfort zone. The transition from Houston to Indianapolis hasn’t been a smooth one for Johnson.

“In coming to this team, I knew that we had a lot of guys here that can make plays,” Johnson said. “You just have to wait [for] your time. Your time will come. I’ve had my fair share of being the No. 1 guy, catching eight or nine balls a game. My biggest reason for coming here was to come in and help as much as I can to win games.

“What’s required of me in the first few games, it hasn’t been what’s been most of my career. I’m not upset. I’m here to win.”

This isn’t the first time the Colts have been in this position with a receiver they signed during the offseason. It happened with Hakeem Nicks last season, and to a lesser extent with Darrius Heyward-Bey two years ago.

But this is Andre Johnson, a player with seven 1,000-yard seasons in his career. Johnson has had at least two drops already this season, and his best play – a 37-yard reception against the Titans – was taken away because of a holding penalty called on guard Hugh Thornton.

Hilton and second-year player Donte Moncrief have been the Colts’ best two receivers so far this season.

“I think he’s a great, steady presence as a leader for this offense,” quarterback Andrew Luck said about Johnson. “Just because maybe the catches aren’t where they are normally for a guy like that, doesn’t mean he’s not helping contribute in a big way. I don’t foresee the catches not catching up, in a sense.”

There hasn’t been any moping or complaining out of Johnson.

Need some proof?

Johnson’s reaction Sunday after Moncrief caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Luck to put the Colts up 28-27 in the fourth quarter.

“I told Donte after he caught that touchdown that I jumped like I caught it,” Johnson said. “It’s fun being around these guys, young guys. That makes me enjoy the game a lot more. Makes me feel young.”

Johnson and Luck didn’t spend much extra time together during the offseason, and it’s showing so far. Three of Luck’s NFL-high seven interceptions have come on throws to Johnson.

“A lot of people don’t realize how hard that is, to try to build being your first time in a new place,” Johnson said. “It takes a lot of work. It takes time for a guy to feel very comfortable, to make that relationship very comfortable. It’s something we work on every day. Other than that, I’m just here working and trying to get better as a player daily.”

The timing and the comfort level will come around, the Colts say.

“A week ago it was the tight ends you guys were talking about, so we got them involved,” coach Chuck Pagano said, smiling. “So now it’s Andre, so I guess he’ll get eight or nine targets this week.”

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Andre Johnson continues to tumble down Colts' WR depth chart

Colts wide receiver Andre Johnson did not have a reception and spent most of the fourth quarter on the sideline in Sunday's win over Tennessee, the Indianapolis Star reports. He had one pass thrown his way on a reception that was negated by a penalty.

Johnson has seven receptions in three games, as he's nowhere close to living up to the three-year, $21 million contract he signed in free agency. It also looks like he may have fallen to No. 3 or No. 4 on the depth chart, as both Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett figured prominently in Indy's fourth-quarter comeback.

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Andre Johnson nabs three passes for 27 yards in loss

Colts wide receiver Andre Johnson had three receptions for 27 yards despite being targeted seven times in Monday's loss to the Jets.

Johnson has just seven receptions for 51 yards through two games. He's also caught just seven of 17 passes thrown his direction. He hasn't been in sync with Andrew Luck and appears to have been bypassed by Donte Moncrief in the order for targets. It's just two games and the entire Indy offense has struggled, so he should improve. However, there are reasons to be worried given Johnson's age (34) and the decline in his per-play effectiveness the previous two seasons.

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Andre Johnson, Revis ready for rematch after offseason moves

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Andre Johnson and Darrelle Revis have taken familiar paths through the NFL.

Both were first-round draft picks, became perennial Pro Bowlers, became the foundation of their previous teams and packed up and moved away after last season.
Now, two of the league's most respected players face off again Monday night when Revis' Jets meet Johnson's Colts.

"You like to go against the best. You always want to go against the best to see where you're at, where your game is at," Johnson said this week. "I'm pretty sure it's the same for him. He likes to go against the best in the game."

It could be one of the game's most intriguing matchups.

Johnson, the longtime Houston Texans star, could see his role increase dramatically if T.Y. Hilton is hindered by the bruised left knee that kept him out of practice all week until Saturday. Hilton is expected to be a game-time decision.

The Jets' secondary also could be missing a key player. Starting cornerback Antonio Cromartie is questionable with a sprained left knee, putting even more pressure on Revis to live up to his reputation as one of the league's top cover men. That was his job with the Jets before his trade to Tampa Bay two years ago and is now after returning to the Jets following last season's Super Bowl in New England.

Plenty has changed this season.

The 34-year-old Johnson has worked out of the slot more than he ever did in Houston, and new Jets coach Todd Bowles is willing to deploy Revis in multiple ways instead of just shadowing each opponent's best receiver. The Colts' high-powered offense makes Bowles' decision this week complicated.

"We've got our work cut out for us either way, so it doesn't matter if you follow or double somebody, somebody else is always going to be 1-on-1," Bowles said. "They have good enough guys that can get open."

And they're good enough to score points by the dozens, something that didn't happen last week at Buffalo.

The Jets' defense is every bit as challenging.

Bowles, like Rex Ryan, likes blitzing and if he brings enough pressure, Andrew Luck may again be forced to rely on short, quick throws — something that prevented the 34-year-old Johnson from being the playmaker Indy envisioned in the offseason.

Like the Bills, the Jets also have physical cornerbacks such as Revis who can make some of the NFL's top receivers essentially disappear on game day.

"He (Revis) is probably one of the most technically-sound DBs in this league," Johnson said. "He's a heck of a player, but I think they play well as a group. I think they have a great group of guys on the back end and they all complement each other very well. It will be a challenge for us."

A challenge the 30-year-old Revis finds just as enticing, especially on the prime-time stage.

"Andre is by far one of the best receivers I have ever played against in the past," Revis said. "So it does give them a dynamic on offense. They can use Andre probably just like they did Reggie (Wayne) in the past."

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Andre Johnson has no recollection of trip to Revis Island

Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis and Colts receiver Andre Johnson have a history. Johnson was the first mark that really gave Revis a reputation of stopping top targets. The game was in 2009 and Revis limited Johnson to four catches for 35 yards. Johnson was with the Texans then.

Johnson — who will see Revis again on Monday night in Indianapolis — maintained that he did not recall the battle.

“Not really,” Johnson said. “I don’t even know how long ago that was. It’s been a while since me and him (Revis) played against each other.

Johnson was slow out of the gates last weekend, but coach Chuck Pagano insisted he was not concerned about Johnson’s motor.

“He takes great care of himself. I have no worries about Andre,” Pagano said. “He’ll go out and compete at a high level, make plays for us.”

Johnson caught four balls for 24 yards against the Bills. Now in his 13th season, Johnson, a former first-round pick out of Miami, noted that his team needed to execute better in order to live up to Super Bowl expectations.

“I just think we didn’t play the way that we are capable of playing,” Johnson said. “We had a lot of mistakes, lot of penalties and stuff like that. It doesn’t matter who’s on your team, when you go out and play the way that we played, you’re not going to win.”

The Colts are also optimistic that wideout T.Y. Hilton will be ready to go Monday night after suffering a bruised knee in the loss to the Bills.

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Andre Johnson struggles mightily in IND debut

Andre Johnson caught just 4-of-10 targets for 24 yards in Indy's Week 1 loss to the Bills.

It was a concerningly-bad performance from Indy's 34-year-old free agent signing. Johnson struggled to separate, and committed a horrendous drop on a would-be two-point conversion. He was the smothered intended target on Andrew Luck's second interception. It was a rainy day in Buffalo, but Johnson didn't have much spring in his step. Now with T.Y. Hilton week to week with a knee injury, Johnson will be even more under the microscope in Week 2, where he could draw shadow coverage from Darrelle Revis. Johnson will be a middle-of-the-road WR3 for that matchup.

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Examining Andre Johnson's underwhelming debut

The excitement created by the Colts' signing of free-agent receiver Andre Johnson in March was palpable.

And why not?

The veteran has seven 1,000-yard seasons and over 13,000 career yards, most coming in his previous 12 seasons with the Houston Texans.

But Johnson's debut in Indianapolis, coming in Sunday's loss to the Buffalo Bills, left much to be desired. It wasn't just the fact that he finished with only four catches for 24 yards, though those are hardly eye-popping totals.

Instead, the real surprise is this: Johnson became a victim of the very problems he was supposed to solve in Indianapolis.

Specifically, Johnson was thought to be a player who could help the Colts overcome their struggles with tight man-to-man coverage by making tough, physical and contested catches in traffic. Many of those would be of the short variety, Johnson providing an ever-ready option for quarterback Andrew Luck when deeper routes aren't available to him.

Only, that's not what happened on Sunday. Johnson, at times, struggled to make those catches in traffic, with him and Luck connecting on just four of the 10 passes thrown his way. And that doesn't take into account the two-point conversion attempt in the fourth quarter on which Johnson saw a pass from Luck go right through his hands.

But you saw the game. You know what happened. The question is whether this will continue or whether Johnson rebounds?

A preponderance of available evidence tells us Johnson will be fine.


For starters, concerns about his age are legitimate – there's a reason the Texans refused to pay big money to a 34-year old receiver – but should not be overstated. That's because Johnson has not been reliant on elite athletic ability in recent seasons. He's relied more on route running, his excellent size and his (mostly) reliable hands. Those are things that don't necessarily leave you with age, and Johnson exhibited all of that in training camp and in preseason games.

Another reason: Johnson and Luck are still getting in sync. That might be hard to believe after an entire offseason of work together, but Sunday marked their most extensive action together in a game situation. Outside of the third preseason game, against the St. Louis Rams, their preseason work consisted of very small sample sizes. Perhaps as a result, at least three of those 10 attempts to Johnson were simply not catchable. That adds important context to the disconcerting 40 percent conversion rate on attempts to Johnson.

Finally, there's the fact that Johnson had only two passes come his way through the first two quarters. T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief were Luck's primary targets early. So, several of Johnson's pass targets came after the Colts lost Hilton to a knee injury in the second half. That allowed the Bills to devote No. 1 cornerback Stephon Gilmore to stopping Johnson, something they were less inclined to do earlier in the game.

Hilton is still dealing with the knee injury and it's unclear whether he'll play against the New York Jets on Monday night. But he is not expected to be out for an extended period, he and coach Chuck Pagano said. Good thing, because Johnson was never projected to be this team's No. 1 receiver. He was expected to be a complement to Hilton, the $65 million man.

Sunday's struggles notwithstanding, Johnson can still do that. And he will do that.

If Johnson responds the way he has for the past 12 seasons, this whole topic might soon become a distant memory.

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WATCH: Andrew Luck hits Andre Johnson for a Colts touchdown

WATCH: #proCane #Colts WR Andre Johnson score his first TD as a #Colt on a 32-yard pass.

A video posted by procanes (@procanes) on

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Andre Johnson Feeling Right At Home In Colts Culture

INDIANAPOLIS – Andre Johnsonicon-article-link heard the fan and he had to crack a smile.

“Welcome to a winning team, Andre” shouted an onlooker in Anderson, prior to the Colts first Training Camp practice of 2015.

Acquainting yourself in a new culture, after 12 seasons being the face of another franchise, especially that team’s division rival, is no simple task.

Training Camp in Anderson was the first time Johnson had ever gone “away” for camp in his NFL career.

The added uncertainty of seeing a new fan base day-in-and-day-out for Johnson was eased early on.

“When the fan said that, I just turned around and started laughing. All the fans kind of started laughing,” Johnson says with a smile.

“After practice, (I signed) autographs for fans a few times (and) they’ve been very welcoming. A lot of them are telling me they are glad that I’m here and they don’t have to go against me. That makes you appreciate it, makes you feel at home. I’m just excited about this opportunity.”

With a weapon like Johnson, the Colts are giving him several opportunities to showcase his unique range.

Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton is moving Johnson all around the Colts offense, lining the seven-time Pro Bowler up both outside and in the slot, more frequently than he did in Houston.

Hamilton could pop in the film and see what the Colts were getting in Johnson from a pure football standpoint. The Colts offensive coordinator is also seeing the side of Johnson inside the classroom.

“One of the things that’s allowed Andre to be such a good pro for so long is his ability to focus and pay attention to the details,” Hamilton says.

“He approached joining our team as if he was a rookie. He took copious notes and he was always focused and engaged in meetings. He’s constantly asking questions and he’s working overtime to build a relationship with Andrew Luckicon-article-link and the rest of our guys.”

While Johnson has put up rare numbers in his dozen NFL seasons, the way he goes about his business is a bit unusual, too.

Unlike the “diva” stereotype that can often follow elite wide receivers, Johnson is quiet in nature…until he hits the field.

“Everybody always asks me about that. They say you are so laid back but when you are on the field, you are a different person. That’s just the way I’ve always been,” Johnson says.

“That’s how I was growing up. My mom, my little brother, we are all the same, just a quiet house. We are all competitive (though). Whenever those competitive juices get going, we kind of get revved up a little bit. That’s the way we approach things.”

Chuck Pagano has known Johnson for over a decade and a half. The Colts head coach remembers a high school aged Johnson barely saying a word when Pagano and the Miami football staff were pursuing the blue-chip recruit.

That demeanor hasn’t changed much, which should be a sign of caution for anyone having to face Johnson.

“There are a lot of quiet guys that are in the Hall of Fame,” Pagano says. “There are some guys that like to talk a lot in there and then there are probably some guys in there that didn’t say a whole lot and just went out and did their job and did it very well.

“(Johnson’s) one of those guys that, he’s so quiet, you never mess with. You don’t mess with that guy. He doesn’t say a whole lot, but what he does on the football field and how he attacks his profession, his work ethic and all those types of things, the plays that he can make, it speaks for itself.”

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WATCH: Andrew Luck hits Andre Johnson for a two-point conversion

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Andre Johnson makes hard catches look easy

Andre Johnson made his first catch as a member of the Indianapolis Colts — his first as a member of any team not named the Houston Texans — and it was about as routine as it gets.

The veteran receiver hopped to his feet after being tackled, handed the ball to an official, then jogged, expressionless, to the sideline.

But this was no run-of-the-mill catch by Johnson, one of the Colts’ prized free agents inspiring this team’s high hopes. Then again, Johnson making catches against airtight pass coverage does pass for garden variety for the seven-time Pro Bowl selection.

It’s what he does. He makes tough catches look easy.

“I think that’s the mark of a great wide receiver, a great athlete,” quarterback Andrew Luck said, “to make something very hard look easy and simple and smooth. He does that.”

So, that 8-yard slant Johnson caught on Sunday against Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Nolan Carroll on third-and-8 during the preseason opener was, perhaps, not as routine as it appeared. That said, prepare yourself to see that on an absolute regular basis.

Ever wonder how Johnson has managed five seasons with more than 100 catches despite average to below-average Houston quarterbacks throwing him the football? It’s simple: by catching any and every pass that comes his way, no matter how well he might be defended.

“I think it’s a skill set as well as his God-given ability to go up and jump high and have the hand-eye coordination to make some amazing catches,” Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said. “His catch radius is off the charts as well as the fact that Andre is a big, physical, strong man that understands how to leverage and use his body to give him an opportunity to make those plays.”

That’s a fancy way of saying that Johnson is among the best there is at using his size.

He’s certainly a big receiver, and that’s a huge reason for Johnson’s ability to make these contested catches. But even though he’s 6-3 and 230 pounds, this is about more than mere size. At work are several factors, including Johnson’s unwavering concentration and the necessary toughness to make catches in traffic, sometimes in spite of multiple defenders.

There’s just a dash of basketball in the mix, too. Johnson dabbled in hoops at Miami (Fla.) Senior High School, a perennial state power that boasts 18 state titles. Thankfully for the Colts, he’s retained a bit of what he learned on the hardwood.

“I think maybe it’s just something you get over time, practicing with the quarterback,” Johnson said of his difficult catches. “When he sees you make those plays, just knowing how to use your body and stuff like that to box guys out for the ball, it just gives him confidence that when people think you’re covered, you’re not really covered. That’s what I try to do on my end.”

Just as it’s a key factor playing in the post, position is everything in battles between receivers and defensive backs. And when the quarterback comes to expect that Johnson will find a way, Luck won’t hesitate to give him a chance.

That’s why Luck confidently stepped into that third-down throw in Philadelphia despite the lack of any perceptible daylight between Johnson and the defender.

“You understand that what may not look like a wide-open route, with Andre it really is because he’s so big, he’s so physical and does such a great job contorting his body to shield the defender away or to put that ball in a safe place,” Luck said. “So, it’s been fun to see how his body moves and see him go up and make some plays.”

The sample size in game action, so far, is small. Johnson played two offensive series Sunday and made just the one catch. Maybe he will add to the tally Saturday night against the Chicago Bears in the second game of the preseason. Regardless, he’s supplied an endless number of examples over the previous 12 seasons in Houston. Some of Johnson’s most memorable moments are catches in which he wrested a ball away from a defensive player or effortlessly snatched it out of the air.

Colts cornerback Vontae Davis has been on the wrong end of a handful of such plays during their twice-annual duels between AFC South foes Houston and Indianapolis.

There are more recent examples, too, like those displayed on the practice field during training camp. Johnson went airborne on consecutive days last week to make highlight-worthy catches down the middle of the field. They weren’t the most accurate throws by Luck, and maybe Luck wouldn’t attempt such a throw to other receivers. But Johnson’s track record demands that he be given such opportunities.

In each of those instances, when he made stunning catches in camp, Johnson reacted just as he did in Philadelphia last Sunday. He casually walked back to the huddle as if nothing phenomenal had just unfolded.

And, to Johnson, perhaps it wasn’t phenomenal. Because, remember, this is what Johnson does.

He makes tough catches look easy.

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Andre Johnson Talks Colts Debut

The catch left him wanting more, but Andre Johnson knew.

After 12 NFL seasons, Johnson knows how veterans operate in the preseason, particularly in Week One.

Johnson’s debut with the Colts lasted just 11 snaps on Sunday, ending after a nine-yard grab to move the chains on a third-and-nine.

The lone reception from Johnson was a carbon copy of what he’s shown in Anderson.

With Eagles cornerback Nolan Carroll behind Johnson and unable to get his arms around the 6-3, 230-pound wideout, Johnson gave Andrew Luck a clear throwing lane to hit him in stride.

“I was just anxious to get my first catch and to actually get out there in a game atmosphere,” Johnson said following his Colts debut.

“When you get that first catch, you want to keep playing but they snatched us right out (smiles). That’s part of it, part of the process.”

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Andre Johnson to be on 'pitch count'

According to, Indianapolis Colts WR Andre Johnson will be on a 'pitch count' with the team this season. This means he will receive more plays off, and is less likely to play every down. (

Fantasy Impact: This is a new bit of info on the veteran WR, and though it was buried in the article it does seem to have fantasy significance. Johnson is currently being drafted as the No. 18 WR, right around where our experts think he should be taken. We'll see how owners react to this news and if he begins to slide at all.

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After years of chasing the Colts, Andre Johnson relishing life as one

ANDERSON, Ind.—In 12 NFL seasons, Andre Johnson never had this. Not even close. The personal honors and accomplishments came in droves in Houston. But every day since he became an Indianapolis Colt, he catches himself realizing this is by far the best quarterback he’s ever played with, and this is the best team he’s ever played on. And that’s when he remembers why leaving Houston might wind up being the best thing that ever happened to him in football.

The greatest player to ever wear the Texans uniform isn’t the face of a franchise any more. But it’s a happy-go-lucky face he wears, because of the guy who already fills that role in Indianapolis, and how Andrew Luck puts him closer than ever to the career-capping dream of winning a Super Bowl. Johnson never really thought it’d come to this, but now he’s eminently glad it did. For years he and his Houston teammates chased these Colts—first against Peyton Manning and then against his replacement—and now he’s among them, finding out just how good life is on the other side.

“After you’ve been somewhere so long, you never think you’ll join another team,” said Johnson on Sunday in Colts’ training camp at Anderson University, minutes after the seven-time Pro Bowl receiver left the practice field. “And then, to actually be on the team you’ve had a hard time beating, it’s kind of crazy.”

Crazy equals crazy good in this case. Whatever joy had been drained from the game for Johnson in his last two years in Houston has returned. In force. With Texans head coach Bill O’Brien planning on diminishing his role in 2015, Johnson sought and was granted his release in March. And then he set his sights on joining Indianapolis, the team—and former AFC South rival—he identified as having the best possible road to the Super Bowl. It’s the most important go route Johnson has ever run, and the journey seems to have rejuvenated him.

“I think he already loves this team, that’s evident,” said Colts general manager Ryan Grigson, seated behind the wheel of a golf cart just before practice begins. “He kind of lights up just talking about it. It’s energized him, because of the culture of winning here, and I think just playing with Andrew is something that’s really excited him. He’s working his tail off out here.”

Johnson sounds like a kid at Disney World when the topic turns to Luck, the Colts' fourth-year franchise quarterback who has led Indy to a 33–15 regular-season record and three playoff wins in his first three NFL seasons. After just two playoffs trips and two postseason wins in his dozen years spent in Houston, Johnson sounds almost in awe of how far Luck has come so quickly. The Texans never went beyond the divisional round in the postseason with Johnson, but Luck and Colts ended last season in the AFC Championship Game, and have successfully climbed another playoff rung each year since Luck arrived.

After years of playing with the likes of David Carr, Matt Schaub, Sage Rosenfels, Case Keenum and Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback, Johnson almost can’t believe his good fortune of finding Luck in his huddle. It makes him feel like he’s 34 going on 27.

“It’s been so much fun,” Johnson said. “There’s a lot of great energy on this team. It’s a fun group of guys, and it’s a great feeling to be part of that. People always ask me about [Luck] and I tell them you’d think he’s played for 10-12 years. He’s such a young player in this league, but he’s a hell of a player. I can only imagine what his career is going to be like.

“The guy is just very, very smart, and he sees a lot. He sees things before they even happen. And that’s a great thing to have in your quarterback.”

After 1,012 catches, 13,597 receiving yards and 64 touchdowns in 169 games for the Texans, Johnson learned to see something coming before it happened as well: the end in Houston. It didn’t make it sting any less, but when O’Brien called him into his office and explained his vision for Johnson’s reduced role—fresh off an 85-catch, 936-yard showing in 15 games last year—he knew his time had come. Johnson will be in Houston’s ring of honor some day in the not-too-distant future, but he realized he would have to leave the only NFL home he had ever known to pursue the ring that he really wanted.

“After we played our last game last season, [the media] asked me did I feel like it was my last game there,” Johnson said. “I told them I didn’t, but deep down in my heart I knew it was. You hear things here and there. I just had a feeling. And when you have that gut feeling, your gut never really lets you down.

“I had that feeling that I probably wouldn’t be back, so when it happened, I really wasn’t surprised. But when you see it happen, you’re like, ‘Man, I’ve been in this place for 12 years and now it’s all over.' You build so many relationships, and it all has to go away until football season’s over.”

Johnson doesn’t sound bitter about how he and Houston divorced, but there’s still some lingering hurt which he doesn’t make much of an effort to hide. From the second season of the expansion Texans on, Johnson was synonymous with the franchise. And then, after enduring as Houston struggled for respectability, finally won, and then struggled again, he was deemed expendable.

“I just think they really didn’t know how to come at me,” Johnson said. “I just think they wanted to go in a different direction, and that was pretty much it. I would have felt better if they would have said that’s what they wanted to do. I’ve always been straightforward with them, so I felt like they should do the same. But it is what it is. I don’t really care about it too much. I’ve moved on from it. I’m here. I’m a Colt now.”

Johnson’s quick signing with the Colts, the division’s perennial powerhouse that has made the playoffs in 12 of the AFC South’s 13 seasons, was viewed as something of a revenge move by pundits and fans; the jilted veteran making sure he could come back to haunt his former team twice every season. In reality, Johnson said, it wasn’t the payday or the payback that drove him to Indy. It was the opportunity to win big, and he and his fellow new Colt, ex-49ers running back Frank Gore—old friends and onetime University of Miami teammates—even made something of a pact to reunite in Indianapolis to win a ring.

“A lot of people ask me, ‘Did you come here to get back at the Texans?’” Johnson said. “That’s not what it’s about. I came here to win. I came here to win a Super Bowl. When I was in Houston, I always said I wanted to be a part of something that was built from the ground up. But then you go through that, and then after 12 seasons, there comes a point where you know your career’s almost over. What do you do?

“You go find a place and give yourself the best opportunity to try and get a ring. That’s just the way I looked at it. My decision was never based on money or anything else but, ‘Where can I go and play with a great quarterback and get a chance to go to a Super Bowl?’”

The Colts, of course, went all in this offseason in their quest for another Super Bowl berth, going on a mini-signing spree of proven veterans such as Johnson, Gore, and ex-Eagles Trent Cole and Todd Herremans. Indianapolis correctly came to the conclusion that despite going 11–5 last season, it underachieved in most of its biggest games of the year. Of the Colts’ six losses, including the playoffs, five came against teams that made the postseason (the Patriots were in there twice) and the other came against the 10–6 Eagles. The average margin of defeat in those six losses was a glaring 20.3 points. To win big games, you need big-game performers, and Johnson and Gore have track records to lean on, hopefully upgrading over aging receiver Reggie Wayne and injury-prone running back Ahmad Bradshaw.

“No, you don’t expect to be able to sign an Andre Johnson, but the harsh reality of the NFL is that it happens,” said Colts coach Chuck Pagano, who has known Johnson since he helped recruit him to the University of Miami as a Hurricanes assistant under Butch Davis. “I never wanted to say goodbye to Reggie Wayne. Nobody ever envisions the day you have to move on from people, and for every Ray Lewis ending there’s a thousand train wrecks that don’t end that way. It’s hard. But I’m really glad he’s here. Seriously.”

There’s no more chasing the Colts for Johnson. He’s caught them. And now he catches passes from none other than Andrew Luck. And together they get to chase a ring. As Johnson has quickly grasped, it’s kind of crazy how good this all might work out.

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Andre Johnson lets his play do the talking

ANDERSON — Andrew Luck scrambled out of the pocket Friday but kept his eyes downfield.

It's a classic look for the Indianapolis Colts quarterback, on the run, extending the play and looking for an opportunity.

Andre Johnson saw the passer on the move and turned back toward the line of scrimmage. He found a spot in the flat and sat down in his route, hugging the sideline.

But cornerback Vontae Davis was watching the play develop, too, and he anticipated Johnson's veteran move. Sprinting to the spot, Davis suddenly was right on Johnson's hip.

So the 6-foot-3, 229-pound wide receiver ever so subtlely created space. He boxed out a bit like a power forward preparing for a rebound and used his elbow to keep the defender at bay.

Then Luck rifled a pass toward the sideline, and Johnson effortlessly pulled it in before turning out of bounds for a comfortable gain.

This is vintage Johnson, a wide receiver who often is open even when he appears to be well covered.

"That, I think, is a big part of camp, is one-on-one drills and tight man coverage," Luck said. "You don't get that necessarily in OTAs, the offseason, with the rules on how physical you can be. You understand that what may not look like a wide-open route, with Andre it really is because he's so big. He's so physical and does such a great job contorting his body to shield the defender away or to put that ball in a safe place. So it's been fun to see how his body moves in that sense and see him go up and make some plays."

With Johnson, there's often more than meets the eye.

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Pep likes Andre Johnson

Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton doesn’t have the history with Andre Johnson that Pagano has had. But it hasn’t taken long for the third-year assistant coach to realize just how much of presence Johnson can have within an offense.

“I think one of the things that’s allowed Andre to be such a good pro for so long is his ability to focus and pay attention to the details. He approached joining our team as if he was a rookie,” Hamilton said Wednesday. 

“He took copious notes and he was always focus and engaged in meeting. He’s constantly asking questions and he’s working overtime to build a relationship with [quarterback] Andrew Luck and the rest of our guys for that matter.”

It’s Johnson’s size (6-foot-3, 229 pounds) as well as his wingspan that can make a big difference in short yardage and red zone situations.

“I think it’s a skill set as well as his God given ability to go up and jump high and have the hand-eye coordination to make some amazing catches,” the coordinator said. “His catching radius is off the chart as well as the fact that Andre is a big, physical, strong man that understands how to leverage and use his body to give him an opportunity to make those plays.”

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Pagano goes back to Miami roots to bolster Colts

There’s something about those University of Miami connections for Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano.

For the past three years, it was Pagano and veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne. Now that Wayne is no longer part of the Colts’ picture, it’s running back Frank Gore and wide receiver Andre Johnson.

Wayne, Gore and Johnson were all standouts at Miami while Pagano was an assistant coach. He ended up in having a hand in all three players winding up as Hurricanes as a recruiter.

Flash forward several years. Pagano had just been named as Indianapolis’ new head coach. Wayne had just played out his contract with the Colts and was fielding offers from several teams around the National Football League.

Just when it looked as if Wayne was headed out the door, presumably to New England, in stepped Pagano the recruiter once again. He convinced his long-time friend to stay with the Colts and be an important part in the remodeling of the franchise.

When the decision was made to finally part ways to Wayne after the 2014 season, largely due to age and a series of injuries that had finally begun to affect his on-field performance, Pagano went right back to his Miami connections.

This time it was Gore and Johnson. Both players had received lucrative contract offers from other teams. In fact, for awhile it appeared as if the former San Francisco 49ers running back was headed to Philadelphia.

But, as Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson likes to say, once Pagano gets a potential roster addition in the door, the chances are pretty good that they’re not going to leave. Such was the case with Gore and Johnson.

Both players are expected to be important cogs in the Colts’ offense this season. With Wayne gone, Johnson steps in to give Indianapolis another Pro Bowl caliber wide receiver. He gives the franchise something it hasn’t had for quite a long time, a big physical receiver.

While Johnson’s former team, the Houston Texans, decided to part ways, Pagano and Grigson both firmly believe the veteran receiver still has a lot left to offer.
“He’s the same. Same guy, just better version. From day one from recruiting him and then when he came to the University of Miami as a freshman until now. He’s a tireless worker. He doesn’t say anything. He does his job,” the Colts head coach offered.

“He’s where he is supposed to be, and he’s very trustworthy, accountable, a great teammate. Guys can look to him and say, ‘OK I’m a young receiver and I’m going to get in his hip pocket and whatever he does, I am doing.’ He just does everything the right way, plus he has a ton of talent.”

Pagano has the same feel for Gore, who may make his mark just as much as a pass blocker as he will as a runner.

“Certainly you have to have the mental aptitude to understand protections. You are going to get a bunch of exotic blitzes nowadays. People are going to challenge your protections on every third down situation. From a mental standpoint, [Gore’s] got the football IQ and aptitude to understand that and get on the right people. Then from a physical standpoint, he’s a tough guy,” the coach said.

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Luck to Andre Johnson. Get used to it.

Luck to Johnson. Luck to Johnson. Luck to Johnson. Get used to it.

No receiver has caught more passes from Andrew Luck over the first two days of camp than Andre Johnson, the veteran target who is settling in just fine in his new offense. Why? So much of the Colts’ aerial attack centers on the home run (see: the speed of T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and Duron Carter). That allows Johnson ample space to get open underneath, and that’s all he’s done in the first two practices of the 2015 season. And Luck has looked his way over and over again.

Johnson might not catch the long passes that Hilton, Moncrief and Carter grab this season, but he’s going to catch plenty. He’s averaged 84 catches a year for 12 years. Don’t be shocked if he hauls in more this coming season, even at age 34.

Also of note, Carter made his first highlight play of training camp, darting behind rookie safety Clayton Geathers for a deep touchdown catch. Moncrief earned one of his own later in the practice, fighting for a contested ball over second-year cornerback Deveron Carr and hauling it in for a score.

Needless to say, the passing game looks alright.

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Reggie Wayne excited to see Andre Johnson, Frank Gore with Colts

INDIANAPOLIS -- Three of the Indianapolis Colts' new players have ties to receiver Reggie Wayne, who spent the past 14 seasons with the franchise.

The Colts signed running back Frank Gore and receiver Andre Johnson and drafted receiver Phillip Dorsett during the offseason.

All three attended the University of Miami, just like Wayne. And they all work out in Miami, just like Wayne.

That’s why it’s not weird -- anymore at least -- for Wayne to see Gore and Johnson playing for the Colts.

“I would say yes, but when they’re not up here they’re down [in Miami] and I see them working out and stuff,” Wayne said. “It’s funny cause you sit back and laugh, it almost was a University of Miami receiving corp. Andre Johnson always says, ‘I wish you were still there, it would have been exciting.’ Those guys are great friends of mine. I’m excited for them. I’m happy for them. I wish them the best and they’re great guys. You guys know about me doing stuff in the community. Those guys are also community guys. You’ll be seeing them do stuff around the city.”

The Colts decided not to re-sign Wayne, 37, in March. They turned around and signed Johnson as his replacement. Johnson is 34 years old, but he’s still an upgrade over Wayne at that position. Wayne said last week that he plans to play a 15th season.

Johnson and Wayne talked before the former Houston Texan receiver signed with the Colts back in March.

“We understand that as athletes that’s the way it goes and I’m just thankful I was able to do what I was able to do for so long,” Wayne said. “Not everybody is blessed enough to do it. I’m still going to be cheering from afar. Just have to ride the wave as best as you can.”

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Andre Johnson celebrates birthday Colts-style

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Andre Johnson celebrated his 34th birthday over the weekend and he did it showcasing his Colts pride.

Johnson, who signed with Indianapolis in March, marked the occasion with a cake in the shape of a Colts helmet, complete with his No. 81 and initials on it.
The inscription on the cake read, "Another year of life filled with new beginnings!"

Surprise B Day dinner

A photo posted by Andre Johnson (@ajohnson1500) on

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Andre Johnson Close To Becoming NFL's 3rd All-Time Leader in Receptions

While the Indianapolis Colts Adam Vinatieri is set to become the NFL’s 3rd all-time leading scorer this season, another member of the team in recently added wideout Andre Johnson will be looking to make his own NFL career milestone (via

“In week 16 of 2014, Andre Johnson became the 10th receiver in NFL history to record 1,000 receptions. He is the second quickest player to hit the 1,000 reception mark, doing it in just 168 games. Marvin Harrison reached the milestone in 167 games. Johnson is currently 9th on the all-time receptions list. However, a mere 91 receptions with the Indianapolis Colts would bolster Johnson all the way up to the No. 3 spot on the all-time reception list behind only Jerry Rice (1,549) and Tony Gonzalez (1,325).”

The longtime former Houston Texan only needs 91 receptions to surpass another Colts wide receiver great in Marvin Harrison for 3rd all-time on the NFL receptions list. Currently, Johnson has 1,012 career receptions (9th all-time) to Harrison’s 1,102 (3rd all-time):

Considering that Johnson still had 85 receptions last year despite suffering from shaky starting quarterback play with the Texans, 91 receptions seems certainly attainable for next season. In fact, over the last 3 seasons, Johnson has averaged 102 receptions per season, so it seems like a fairly realistic benchmark for the 34 year old wideout.

While there are a multitude of receiving options in the Colts passing game, Johnson will also get the luxury of playing with an elite quarterback in Andrew Luck for the first time in his future Hall of Fame career. Johnson looks to fill the possession wideout role to complement T.Y. Hilton‘s deep threat ability, meaning that he should be in-line for a good amount of receptions.

For comparison purposes, a 34 year old Reggie Wayne caught 106 receptions for the Colts in 2014, playing the possession wideout role that has now been seemingly filled by his former Miami Hurricane teammate in Johnson. It’s worth noting that Johnson figures to pass Wayne as well, who is currently 7th all-time on the NFL career receptions list with 1,070 receptions.

It’s easy to forget how impressive Johnson has been during his 13 year NFL career, despite oftentimes suffering from inconsistent starting quarterback play with the Texans. He’s had one of the most decorated receiving careers in NFL history and should be Canton-bound for sure. For the 4x All-Pro and 7x Pro Bowler, all that’s seemingly left is winning an elusive Super Bowl championship.

While “receiving king” Jerry Rice appears safely out of reach with 1,549 career receptions, Johnson could potentially surpass Tony Gonzalez 2nd all-time 1,325 career receptions with 3 more productive seasons, who he trails by 313 catches. At the very least, it appears he should be topping Marvin Harrison for 3rd all-time in NFL career receptions this season.

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Andre Johnson: I wanted to play for Dolphins, but they never called

After being cut by the Texans in March, there were several teams interested in signing wide receiver Andre Johnson.

Unfortunately for Johnson though, none of those teams were the Miami Dolphins.

The Miami-native, who went to both high school and college in South Florida, had hoped that the Dolphins would contact him about possibly signing with the team during free agency.

"I always had a dream of playing at home," Johnson told the Miami Herald recently. "I was a huge Dolphins fan. But they never called."

After Johnson didn't hear from the Dolphins, he ended up signing with the Colts.

As for Miami, the Dolphins ended up calling former Vikings receiver Greg Jennings, who signed a two-year, $8 million deal with the team in April. Jennings contract was a lot cheaper than Johnson's, who ended up signing a three-year, $21 million deal with Indy in March.

Johnson signed with Indy just three days after the Dolphins had agreed to give Ndamukong Suh a six-year contract that included $60 million in guarantees.

"I understand the business side. I have a good situation[in Indy]," Johnson said.

A wide receiving corps of Johnson, DeVante Parker, Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills in Miami would've been pretty ridiculous, but you have to think that Johnson ended up in a place that will probably end up working out better for him.

Not only wil the seven-time Pro Bowler have Andrew Luck throwing him the ball, but he'll be apart of a strong receiving group that will include T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and rookie Phillip Dorsett.

If Johnson's bitter at all about the Dolphins not calling, he can take it out on them in Week 16 when the Colts travel to Miami.

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20 Things You Didn’t Know About Andre Johnson

1) Where were you born? I was born in Miami, Florida.

2) What family member do you most take after? Probably my mom.

3) Do you have any pets? No.

4) Do you have any phobias? No.

5) What’s your favorite food? I’m a seafood guy.

6) What’s your guilty pleasure? ESPN.

7) What makes you laugh? Anything funny.

8) Do you have any superstitions? No.

9) What’s your secret talent? Catching footballs. That’s about it.

10) What’s your pet peeve? Naw, don’t really have one. (Maybe people asking him 20 questions!?)

11) What’s your must see TV? Reruns of Martin.

12) Who’s your idol? Jerry Rice.

13) What’s one thing on your bucket list? Win a Super Bowl.

14) What’s one thing you can’t leave home without? Cell phones.

15) What are you really bad at? Dancing.

16) Who’s your funniest teammate? Erik Walden.

17) Who’s your loudest teammate? Zurlon Tipton.

18) Who’s your smartest teammate? Andrew Luck.

19) Who’s your most stylish teammate? I’m going to hold off on that one. (We’ll give him a pass, since he’s only seen his teammates in practice clothes.)

20) Do you have a bold prediction for the 2015 season? Pat McAfee will throw a touchdown pass.

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Frank Gore, Andre Johnson give Colts passing offseason grade

With offseason workouts and minicamps in the rearview mirror and training camps just a few weeks away, we assess the Indianapolis Colts' offseason moves and assign a letter grade in the video above.

Best move: The Colts were a better team within hours of the start of free agency when they signed veterans Andre Johnson, Frank Gore, Trent Cole and Kendall Langford on March 10. Johnson replaces Reggie Wayne as the Colts’ primary possession receiver and Gore is the running back quarterback Andrew Luck has yet to have in the NFL. Gore is a significant upgrade over the disappointing Trent Richardson. Gore has rushed for at least 1,000 yards in eight of his 10 seasons and his addition means defenses will have to make a choice on who they’ll focus on -- Luck and his skill players on the outside or Gore. Luck should have his best supporting cast on offense in his young NFL career. Cole gives Indianapolis an additional pass rusher at linebacker to go with Robert Mathis, Bjoern Werner, Jonathan Newsome and Erik Walden. Core will start if Mathis (Achilles) is not ready by Week 1.

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Andre Johnson: NFL team full of Miami Hurricanes could win Super Bowl

Colts receiver Andre Johnson appeared on the Marc Hochman Show with Zach Krantz Monday and delved into an interesting topic.

The radio hosts pointed out how the Colts have quite a few former Hurricanes on the roster, including Johnson, Frank Gore, Phillip Dorsett, and Erik Swoope. He was then asked if a roster made up of only Miami Hurricanes could win a Super Bowl.

“Yeah I really think you can,” Johnson said. “If you put a team together and all of the guys are in their prime, yes, I think you could get it done.”

He was then asked, even if the players weren't in their prime. What if the team was made up of players currently playing, or recently removed like Willis McGahee, Ray Lewis or Ed Reed. Would it be possible to field a team that could win a championship then?

"I think you could put something together that could get you there," Johnson said. "There's so many guys. It's a lot of young guys, also. So, I think you can put a team together that could probably get it done."

Johnson's comments are worth exploring. Let's see if we can put together a team made up of current NFL Hurricanes, recently removed NFL Hurricanes and players currently on the Hurricanes' roster.

QB — Ken Dorsey. Sure he's seven years removed from playing in the NFL, but he's still 34 years old. He also may not have fared well in the big leagues, either, but he's really the best we've got. The 'Cane's current quarterback is Brad Kaaya, who looked promising last season.

RB — Clinton Portis, Willis McGahee, Frank Gore. This position would be stacked if the running backs were in their prime. Quarterback may be an issue, so it's probably best to run the ball a lot with this team. McGahee and Portis aren't playing anymore, so we can add Lamar Miller on the roster for some youth.

WR — Reggie Wayne, Andre Johnson, Santana Moss, Devin Hester, Phillip Dorsett (rookie). Who needs a stellar quarterback when you have options like this? Johnson and Wayne are solid options on the outside with Hester, Moss and Dorsett able to run short patterns and take them the distance. 

TE —  Greg Olsen, Jimmy Graham. Other players such as Kellen Winslow Jr. and Jeremy Shockey could have made the list, but Olsen and Graham are probably enough.

Offensive line — Eric Winston, Chris Myers, Orlando Franklin, Ereck Flowers (rookie), Brandon Linder. All of these guys are currently in the NFL and are either Pro Bowlers, or were drafted in the third round or higher. 

Defensive line — Vince Wilfork, Calais Campbell, Olivier Vernon. This is a pretty solid defensive line. Wilfork and Campbell are both Pro Bowl players and Vernon can hold his own.  

Linebackers — Ray Lewis, Jonathan Vilma, Jon Beason, D.J. Williams, Denzel Perryman (rookie). The defensive line may not be the best, but these linebackers can make up for it. What an amazing group. Perryman, a second-round pick this year, can come in and help as depth.

Defensive backs — Sam Shields, Ed Reed, Antrel Rolle, Brandon Meriweather, Kenny Phillips, Brandon Harris, Brandon McGee. Another solid group of players.

Most of these guys are safeties, but we'll find a way to make it work.

K — Michael Badgley. The Hurricanes recently lost Matt Goudis and Badgley is expected to be the starter. The 'Canes don't have a great history with kickers, but who cares with the rest of the talent on the team.

P — Matt Bosher. He was drafted in the sixth round in 2011 and has been great for the Falcons ever since. He'll do just fine.

KR/PR — Devin Hester. Arguably the best returner the NFL has ever seen. 

So there you have it. A roster full of current or recently removed 'Canes. After looking at the roster, I don't think Johnson's assertion is too crazy. This team could definitely make some noise, especially if the players are in their prime.

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Andre Johnson: "The Past Two Seasons Were Pretty Miserable"

Breakups. Divorce. These things are never easy, and the longer the relationship lasted, the more difficult the severing of ties can be, for both sides. The best that you can probably hope for is that you reach a stage of respectful acceptance. However, before you get there, you'll likely go through a Kubler-Ross-ian set of stages — denial, anger…. you know the model.

Well, if Friday's appearance on Dan LeBetard's radio show in Miami is any indicator, Andre Johnson appears to still be stuck in some sort of passive-aggressive version of slight bitterness over how his last couple years as a Houston Texan played out. 

As we all know, Johnson was released by the Texans back in early March after reportedly sitting down with management to discuss what appeared to be a diminished role going forward with the team. It likely would have included an accompanying pay cut if it ever made it that far, but it didn't make it that far. Johnson immediately suggested the team go ahead and release him, the Texans obliged, and days later Andre Johnson clubbed the entire city of Houston over the head with a chair when he signed a three year deal with the Indianapolis Colts. 

Now, at least in the "fresh" stages after the breakup between Johnson and his employer of over a decade, the future Hall of Fame wide receiver has become more and more forthcoming with his true feelings about his time as a Texan, or at least the latter stages of it, which were marked by disappointment, frustration over unfulfilled Super Bowl dreams, and a sea of pick sixes the size of the Atlantic Ocean. 

Below are excerpts from the interview with LeBetard:

How does your career play out differently if you'd had a great QB your entire career?
"I think my numbers would be better than what they are now. You know, I just try to make the best of what I've had, and you know, I never complained about it. I just went out there and gave it my all. I stand by what I've been able to accomplish, and I'm excited by this new opportunity."

What was the most frustrating time in Houston?
"Probably the past two seasons. The year we went 2-14, Coach Kubiak being fired. Going through the whole process again of having a new coach, learning a new system. My past two seasons there were pretty miserable. I could tell you it was hard for me to even go to work. Just excited about this new opportunity now, can't wait to get it all going."

Have you ever been miserable enough to enjoy not going to work?
"Nah, that's probably the first time that's ever happened."

Was it the losing or the QB having difficulty getting you the ball or both?
"When you've been somewhere for a while, just a number of things that went on from the time I've been there. When you're a young player, you really don't understand everything that goes on, the business side of football. You're just kind of excited to be in the NFL, and just want to play. Over time, you just watch things play out, watch moves that are made within the organization, some things you just don't understand. It just kind of became frustrating, some of the things that were going on there. I guess they don't like when players voice their opinions, and I voiced my opinion about some things and they didn't agree with it. It is what it is. I'm a Colt now, and that's what I'm looking forward to."

"Sometimes, you just keep your mouth closed, and try to control the things that you can control. But after a while, when you're out there putting your body on the line, you've been very loyal to the organization, sometimes thing just need to be said. I just got to the point where I felt like I needed to voice my opinion about some things. That didn't go over the right way with them, so it is what it is."

What parts of the business with the Texans were disillusioning to you?
"Probably the biggest thing was the QB situation. People who actually think how you feel about certain things, but then when you give your opinion, they tell you something and do the opposite. That was the biggest thing, talking to you about certain stuff, and even doing contract stuff to help the team and nothing was coming of it."

What were your choices?
"The Colts were the team that I wanted to go to. The best team with a chance to win a Super Bowl, and play with a great quarterback."

Andre Johnson has always been one of the more underrated interviews in the NFL. Sometimes people misconstrue his monotone demeanor for boring answers, but I couldn't disagree more. Johnson has always, in my opinion, been brutally honest in his assessment of most things. The one thing, though, that in retrospect, he was clearly covering up his true feelings for (at least until he stormed off the field before the conclusion of the Oakland game in 2013) was Matt Schaub. In every interview, every press conference, even during the darkest moments of the Schaub Era, Johnson always had his quarterback's back, even when it was completely unjustifiable. 

It's clear now that was just Johnson's being a good teammate; now that he is no longer Schaub's teammate, Johnson can at least acknowledge the "quarterback issue" with the Texans since the franchise was born, even if he doesn't refer to Schaub by name. In many respects, Johnson is merely expressing the sentiments of many Texans fans in the interview with LeBetard. The quarterback situation did suck when Johnson was here. HOWEVER….

Johnson did sign a contract extension with the Texans (actually, held out for more money for like three days in OTA's) in 2010, right smack dab in the middle of the Matt Schaub Era. Granted, 2010 was the height of whatever meager powers Schaub may have possessed, but still, if you want the flexibility to find a home with an elite quarterback, don't sign a long-term extension with the team. It's really that simple.

Somehow, Andre Johnson managed to come across in this interview as simultaneously sympathetic and a slight crybaby. That's Hall of Fame interview material right there! Either way, I think we can all agree that Johnson's continued passive aggressive piñata style thwacking of Matt Schaub is entertaining, if nothing else. 

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Andre Johnson says Andrew Luck is best QB in NFL

INDIANAPOLIS -- New Indianapolis Colts receiver Andre Johnson dealt with a revolving door at quarterback during his 12-year career with the Houston Texans.

Johnson believes that door will finally stop moving for him now. Although he's only been working with Andrew Luck for a short period of time, Johnson already believes he's catching passes from the best quarterback in the NFL.

"He's a hell of a player," Johnson said. "I think he's the best quarterback in this game."

That's a lot of praise for a player who has yet to reach the Super Bowl, especially since future Hall of Famers like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are still in the NFL.
Johnson, who was released by the Texans, said he wanted his next team to be in the position to compete for a Super Bowl and for it to have one of the premier quarterbacks in the league.

Luck's 12,957 yards passing are the most by any quarterback in the first three seasons of his career. He's also led the Colts to 12 game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime in his first three seasons.

"When you look at all the teams that have won Super Bowls over the past few years, they've all had great quarterback play, and we have a great quarterback here," Johnson said. "I can't say I've been fortunate enough to play with a great quarterback in my 12 years in this league, so I'm able to play with one now."

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Andre Johnson fitting into new role with new team

INDIANAPOLIS — Andre Johnson squinted while trying to rack his memory.

Just how many quarterbacks had he played with during his 12 seasons with the Houston Texans? Finally, he came up with a guess: Eleven.

"Last year, we had three," Johnson said, laughing.

The actual number of Texans starting quarterbacks during Johnson's tenure in Houston was 10, causing him to shake his head and smile.

"I've played with a lot of quarterbacks," he said.

Johnson can laugh it off these days, now that he's a member of the Indianapolis Colts and has spent his offseason practicing with Andrew Luck, who has started every game since being drafted with the No. 1 pick in 2012.

That stability at the NFL's most important position — not to mention Luck's quick rise into the upper echelon of the league's quarterbacks — has Johnson embracing this chance for a fresh start in Indianapolis, where he is playing for a coach he's known for more than 15 years, has a locker next to one of his oldest friends (tailback Frank Gore) and is on a team that is a perennial AFC contender.

The Texans have played in just four playoff games in their 13-year history, Johnson appearing in all of them, but never advanced beyond the divisional round. The Colts have already been in six postseason contests since Luck come to town and reached the AFC title game last season.

"It was a frustrating few years, so just being here, it's like a breath of fresh air," Johnson told USA TODAY Sports after Wednesday's practice.

These voluntary sessions early in June are ones Johnson had stopped attending during his latter years in Houston as he feuded with the only NFL team he'd ever played for about his contract and the direction of the organization.

The seven-time Pro Bowler ultimately got his release March 9 after learning his role would be diminished.

His visit to Indianapolis days later sparked a sense of déjà vu to when he was a teenager in Miami, and then-University of Miami assistant coach Chuck Pagano was trying to lure him to Coral Gables.

Once again, Pagano's pitch worked — though he might not have needed to do much selling this time. Johnson had already focused on the Colts as his ideal destination.

"It was like my Miami family, and coach Pagano was just like, 'Hey man, this is like recruiting. I'm not letting you out of the building," Johnson said. "This is where I wanted to be. I came on my visit and was just hoping they could get the contract worked out."

Johnson, who will turn 34 next month, signed a three-year deal worth up to $21 million that included $10 million in guarantees. A two-time all-pro and likely Hall of Famer, he is among the most accomplished players on the Colts' roster.

But Johnson has landed in a place where he's not the face of the franchise (that's Luck), is filling an elder statesman role vacated by the departure of beloved Reggie Wayne (another former Hurricane) and probably won't be the No. 1 wide receiver (that has been T.Y. Hilton). It's meant Johnson has dropped his expectations for individual goals and isn't entering this season with specific catch or yard benchmarks that he needs to hit in order to consider the year a success.
In a new offense, with new teammates, he said he just can't look at it that way anymore.

"You're not really focused on how many balls and that stuff, it's just doing what you need to do to win. That's the biggest thing, and that's why I'm here," Johnson said. "I want to win, with the ultimate goal of the Super Bowl, and I don't know if that's 10 balls (per game) or two balls, or whatever.

"I think any receiver would love to go out and catch a whole bunch of passes. But, you know, I think at the same time — with the talent that we have — we have a lot of guys that can make plays. There's only one football, and when you get your opportunities, you have to make the best of them."

So, for now, Johnson is committing to Pagano's offseason plan, which means showing up for every voluntary workout. As the Colts recruited veteran players this offseason, Pagano specifically went looking for guys who would easily assimilate. Johnson, despite more than a decade playing for an AFC South division rival, was a natural fit.

"Just like a flowing river — jump in the flowing river," Pagano said, starting a winding analogy in which he compared team building to whitewater rafting. "Go with the flow.

"The guys that are trying to fight the current and swim upstream, what happens to them? You're going to drown. So my deal is, buy in. Jump in the river and let it go."

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Andre Johnson told Bill O'Brien 'trade or release me' after fateful conversation

A single conversation proved the tipping point for longtime Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson. Coach Bill O'Brien told the longest-tenured Texan his role would be reduced. That's when Johnson knew he and Houston had a problem.

The revelation of the conversation comes from a Zak Keefer feature in the Indianapolis Star and disputes previous reports about the parting-of-ways interplay between the Texans and Johnson.

Writes Keefer:
Andre Johnson couldn't believe what he heard next. O'Brien told him he'd only start certain games next season. That he'd only catch around 40 passes — less than half his career average. Johnson's role, apparently, was shrinking.

The receiver shook his head. Then he laughed. It's all he could do.

"You should trade me or release me," Johnson told O'Brien. "Because if that's going to be how it is, you're going to have a player who's miserable."

The Texans granted Johnson's request on March 9, releasing the face of the franchise from the years B.W. (Before Watt). The interchange slightly jibes with the sequence of events described by Johnson's agent in the immediate aftermath of the conversation.

“Andre did not, in the last couple of days, go in and ask for a trade,” Kennard McGuire told SportsRadio 610 in March. “Certain things were expressed to [Andre] in which he didn’t agree with. And at that point in time permission was thusly granted to seek an opportunity elsewhere. That was not something that we asked for. That was something that was presented to us."

No matter the semantics, Johnson expressed discontent with how O'Brien handled the conversation, feeling his coach either sidestepped a tougher talk or decided on the reduced role rashly.

"I think they wanted to go in a different direction and just didn't know how to tell me," Johnson told Keefer. "Deciding who was going to start six months before the season? I've never heard of that in my life. And I caught 85 balls last year. It didn't add up. Don't tell me what my role is going to be when we haven't even started workouts."

But the story, it seems, has a happy ending. Upon signing with the Colts, it appeared Johnson appreciated the new coach-player dynamic.

Johnson compiled more than 13,500 yards in his 12 seasons as a Texan, twice earning first-team All-Pro honors. The 2015-16 season with the Colts will be his first without the bull's head on his helmet since his days at the University of Miami, where Colts coach Chuck Pagano was on staff.

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Nate Washington on Andre Johnson: ‘ No. 80 will forever be the best receiver in this organization’s history’

In his 10 seasons with Pittsburgh and Tennessee, receiver Nate Washington became a big fan of Andre Johnson.

Washington is among the veteran and rookie receivers trying to earn playing time opposite DeAndre Hopkins – the position owned by Johnson until he was released in March.

“None of us is here to fill his shoes,” Washington said after the first day of OTAs. “The guys they brought in, we’re not here to try to fill his shoes. We’re here to do what we do best.

“No. 80 will forever be the best receiver in this organization’s history. Collectively, we’ll do our jobs and do whatever’s ask of us and move forward. Respectfully, we can’t fill his shoes.”

Having spent so much time on sidelines opposite Johnson, Washington knows his impact on the Texans and the NFL.

“He’s been a great guy in this community and a great guy in this organization, well-respected in the city and the NFL,” Washington said. “I’ve been close to Andre even though I wasn’t in a Houston Texans jersey, and I have much respect and admiration.

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Andre Johnson set for big role on Colts?

The Indianapolis Colts stockpiled offensive weapons for Andrew Luck this offseason.

General manager Ryan Grigson added Andre Johnson, Frank Gore and rookie speedster Phillip Dorsett to an arsenal that already featured T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener.

While the Houston Texans wanted to reduce Johnson's role in the offense -- precipitating his release -- the Colts appear poised to give the veteran a big part in their play.

According to ESPN beat reporter Mike Wells, who was on hand for Colts OTAs on Wednesday, it was "pretty obvious" that the veteran will have a "significant part" in Indy's offense.

Even if we normally can't glean a whole lot from OTAs, the note from Wells indicates that Johnson should clearly be considered the No. 2 receiving target behind T.Y. Hilton as we inch toward the summer months.

Coach Chuck Pagano boasted that the transition of Johnson and Gore to the offense has been "pretty seamless," so the receiver's significant role in the starting offense shouldn't be seen merely a way to immerse the veteran in a new system.

Earlier this offseason, colleague Chris Wesseling declared Johnson a "lead-pipe lock for 90 receptions and 1,000 yards if he stays healthy." Given what we've heard coming out of the Colts' camp already, there is no reason to backtrack from that forecast.

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Frank Gore, Andre Johnson have made smooth transition to Indy

INDIANAPOLIS -- There wasn’t expected to be any significant rough stretches for newcomers Andre Johnson and Frank Gore as they transitioned to Indianapolis after spending their entire careers in Houston and San Francisco, respectively.

"Relatively smooth" is probably a better way to describe the transition for the two veterans. So smooth, in fact, that Chuck Pagano went as far as to say it’s like the two have been part of the organization for years.

“Pretty seamless,” the Colts coach said. “They don’t miss a beat as far as the playbook goes, knowing what to do. Every time I see them in the huddle, break a huddle, to me it looks like they’re going the right direction. They’re lining up right. They’re very talented, talented guys. They fit right into the locker room. They’re professionals. Again, the résumé speaks for itself. They’re not talkers. They’re workers, they’re doers.”

Gore's and Johnson's transitions are the most important of the new additions the Colts made in the offseason because of the roles they're expected to play next season. The Colts hope Gore will take some of the pressure off of quarterback Andrew Luck by being the team's first 1,000-yard rusher since 2007 when Joseph Addai did it. Luck, who watched Gore pound defenses with the 49ers while he was at Stanford, noted that the running back has underrated blocking skills.

While the Texans wanted to reduce Johnson’s role in their offense, it was pretty obvious during Wednesday’s OTA session that the veteran will have a significant part in Indianapolis’ offense as he took his snaps with the starters.

“There is a learning adjustment and we’ll continue to learn,” Luck said. “I’d like to think you get better and build that repertoire every week through the offseason, training camp and during the season. But they understand football, you can tell that. They know how to play and certain things they know how to do and certain things that coaches are asking them might be a little different. They work at it just like everybody else. But it’s been very good and it’s incredibly valuable to get these days with them.”

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Andre Johnson: Being in Indy “a breath of fresh air”

Colts wide receiver Andre Johnson reiterated on Wednesday that he didn’t sign to play in Indianapolis simply because it would offer him a chance to face the Texans twice a year.

Johnson said again that he has “bigger goals” than beating the only other team he’s played for in the NFL, but the lack of desire to make things about getting back at the Texans doesn’t mean that Johnson left Houston with only sunny memories. Johnson admitted the end of his run with the Texans wasn’t overflowing with good times.

“Being in one place for a long time, the past two years have been pretty frustrating,” Johnson said, via “Just being here is like a breath of fresh air for me.”

Part of that breath of fresh air has to include playing with Andrew Luck after cycling through several quarterbacks while with the Texans. Matt Schaub was the most accomplished player of that group and Johnson showed them all some kindness by putting a unnecessary qualifier on his assessment of Luck’s skills.

“He throws a great ball,” Johnson said. “Probably the best quarterback I’ve ever played with. I’m excited about the opportunity.”

Playing with a quarterback like Luck offers Johnson a chance to return to the playoffs and perhaps make a deep run into the postseason, which would put him on a path to fulfill those “bigger goals” that were never realized in Houston.

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Andre Johnson: Andrew Luck probably best QB I've had

When asked about new teammate Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts wideout Andre Johnson had this to say:

"Probably the best quarterback I've ever played with," he said Wednesday, via "I'm excited about the opportunity. I just can't wait to continue to keep working with him and keep learning."

Wait. Probably?!

Here's a list of quarterbacks that have thrown Andre Johnson a pass over the years:

Ken Dorsey, Rex Grossman, Tom Savage, David Carr, Tony Banks, Sage Rosenfels, T.J. Yates, Jake Delhomme, Matt Leinart, Matt Schaub, Case Keenum, Ryan Mallett and Ryan Fitzpatrick.

I think you're clear to say he's the best, Andre.

Johnson said he's only caught a few footballs from Luck so far but that he can already feel the chemistry developing.

He'll be motivated to finally play on a roster with playoff expectations year in and year out.

"Being in one place for a long time, the past two years have been pretty frustrating," Johnson said. "Just being here is like a breath of fresh air for me."

Now, he'll hope that Luck can take him further than any of his previous quarterbacks could do.

That's probably reasonable, right?

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Andrew Luck takes jab at Andre Johnson's longevity

Unpacking the 2015 NFL schedule, we listed the Indianapolis Colts among the handful of teams who were treated kindly by the schedule-makers.

After all, they play in the humdrum AFC South while three of their most rugged opponents -- the Patriots, Broncos and Saints -- are locked in as home games for quarterback Andrew Luck and friends.

It's icing on the cake for an AFC heavy that grew more powerful in free agency, adding hammer-dropping running back Frank Gore and veteran wideout Andre Johnson to an offense that posted the sixth-most points per game (28.6) in 2014.

Luck on Wednesday beamed over the addition of Johnson, while taking a lighthearted shot at their age difference.

"I was in eighth grade when he was drafted," Luck quipped, per Mike Chappell of RTV6.

Johnson's prime is behind him, but the former Texans star looms as an immediate difference-maker for the Colts come September. Few receivers have put up bigger numbers with less talent at the quarterback position.

Now paired with Luck inside a passing game that also includes T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, Johnson's long-held dream of reaching the Super Bowl has never burned brighter.

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Chuck Pagano Successfully Recruits Andre Johnson, Again

INDIANAPOLIS – Back in 1999, Chuck Pagano’s job was not to let him get away.

Him was Andre Johnsonicon-article-link, who played his high school football less than six miles away from the University of Miami campus, where Pagano coached.

Johnson, a Parade All-American at Miami Senior High School, made Pagano one happy coach when he committed to the ‘U.’

More than a decade and a half later, the now 33-year old Johnson was again listening to recruiting pitches from Pagano.

A chance to recruit Johnson one more time was a surprise to Pagano, but served as another reminder of how life can work in the NFL.

During Johnson’s free agency visit to Indianapolis, Pagano was able to catch up with the man he coached at Miami and the wide receiver’s uncle.

"It's extremely exciting," Pagano said of reuniting with Johnson.

"No. 1, we're getting a really good football player, obviously. Having the relationship that I have with him, going all the way back to high school, recruiting him out of Miami High, knowing his family, knowing the type of man he is, the type of character he has, all that stuff comes into play. It's really cool for us to be back together again.”

When the Colts decided not to re-sign Reggie Wayne prior to the start of free agency, the void at the receiver position could have included a pre-requisite for another veteran to join the fold.

It wasn’t a requirement, but there’s no question that adding someone with the resume of Johnson was a quality that was definitely admired.

Johnson’s play still showed Pagano a productive receiver who hasn’t seen a major regression in his numbers.

“You still see a guy who is more than capable of stretching the defense, certainly somebody who our opponent can’t just line up and say, ‘Don’t worry about Andre Johnson.’” Pagano said.

“If they choose to double (T.Y. Hiltonicon-article-link) and take him out of the game, you have another guy on the other side, along with the rest of the guys on the roster who can still stretch the defense. He’s a big, possession type guy. He makes contested catches in traffic. He’s got a big catch radius, a big body. Those guys are hard to defend.”

The decision to part ways with Wayne is part of the business that Pagano does not enjoy.

In losing Wayne, Pagano wanted to find someone with similar characteristics and in doing so, another Miami product was about to call Indy home.

"I don't know if you can ever replace 87, matter of fact I know you can't replace guys like that, so you try to find somebody that can become like that guy," Pagano said.

"That mentor, that leader in that room, that brings that veteran presence, veteran leadership into that room to help the young guys. TY (Hilton) naturally going into his fourth year is going to have to assume some of that stuff. He's got to grow into that role. Obviously having a guy like Andre that's played 12 years is going to be a huge help as far as that's concerned."

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Chuck Pagano on Andre Johnson: 'You don’t see a huge dropoff'

INDIANAPOLIS -- Speed on the outside at receiver shouldn't be a problem for the Indianapolis Colts because they've got T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief. What they need -- and missed at the end of last season -- is an underneath receiver.

That's where new Colts receiver Andre Johnson comes into play. What Johnson has in his favor is his size. His 6-foot-3 frame gives quarterback Andrew Luck a big target to throw to.

"He's a big body guy that can still separate, create separation," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "He's got a big catch radius. But again, the contested catches that you see on tape. It's very difficult to match up. There are few corners in the league that have length and size to match up but most are aren't on that size and they get pushed around a little bit. He's going to be able to bring that big, physical presence to us."

Johnson, who signed with the Colts after being released by the Houston Texans earlier this month, has 13,597 yards and 64 touchdowns in his career.

What impressed the Colts' coaching staff and front office is Johnson's ability to still go after the ball no matter who is throwing it.

Johnson's 936 receiving yards last season were the lowest of his career when playing at least 13 games since having only 688 receiving yards in 2005. Having Hilton, Moncrief and possibly Duron Carter to help out should ease Johnson's load, which is why it's not necessary for him to be the top receiver like he was throughout his career with the Texans. The Colts also have tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener, who combined to catch 16 touchdowns last season.

"You don't see a huge dropoff numbers-wise," Pagano said. "Maybe in touchdowns. But you still see a guy who is more than capable of stretching the defense. Certainly somebody who an opponent can't just line up and say, 'Don't worry about Andre Johnson.' They're still going to have to tend to him if you will. If they choose to double [Hilton] and take him out of the game, you have another guy on the other side, along with the rest of the guys on the roster who can still stretch the defense. He's a big, possession type guy. He makes contested catches in traffic. He's got a big catch radius. A big body. Those guys are hard to defend."

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Meet Andre Johnson and Frank Gore 2015 Colts Offensive Free Agents

INDIANAPOLIS – The major offensive splash of the Colts 2015 free agency came from a pair of weapons, who have a long history together.

Frank Gore and Andre Johnson are the headliners of the Colts haul this offseason with free agency quieting down after two weeks of players on the open market. takes a look back on the 2015 additions on offense:

Running Back Frank Gore (49ers)
-2014 Stats: 16 games played (16 starts). 255 rushes for 1,106 yards and four touchdowns.
-Career Stats: 148 career games played (134 starts) in 10 seasons. 2,442 rushing attempts for 11,073 yards and 64 touchdowns.
-Gore’s Quote to Note: “I feel like before I leave this game, I want to win a championship. This is the best team, the best situation for me to get there.”
-Ryan Grigson’s Thoughts: “I was always taught never overlook production, even if the measurables aren’t there, just don’t overlook rare production and consistency. He’s been the model of that and the fact that he can do it on all three downs at a high-level, that’s worth its weight in gold, especially for this offense.”

-Outlook: Running back was a definite need of the Colts this offseason and they were able to lure the most productive back there was on the open market. Gore’s age will be questioned for the rest of his career, but his numbers indicate he’s a different breed than other ball carries with 10 years of tread. He ended 2014 with back-to-back games of at least 140 rushing yards. The Colts aren’t going to ask Gore to carry a heavy burden in the backfield. Chuck Pagano knows that having a healthy Gore each Sunday is the most important factor in tapering back his practice regime. Another reinforcement to the backfield could happen in the draft, where numerous quality backs are this year.

Wide Receiver Andre Johnson (Texans)
-2014 Stats: 15 games played (15 starts). 85 catches for 936 yards and three touchdowns.
-Career Stats: 169 games played (169 starts) in 12 seasons. 1,102 receptions for 13,597 yards and 64 touchdowns.
-Johnson’s Quote to Note: “I wanted to be at a place that had a stable quarterback. I feel like Andrew is arguably the best quarterback in the game playing against him twice a year, getting a chance to watch him a lot. I felt like this was a good place where I could win a championship.”

-Chuck Pagano’s Thoughts: “You still see a guy who is more than capable of stretching the defense. Certainly somebody who our opponent can’t just line up and say, ‘Don’t worry about Andre Johnson.’ They’re still going to have to tend to him. If they choose to double (T.Y. Hilton) and take him out of the game, you have another guy on the other side, along with the rest of the guys on the roster who can still stretch the defense. He’s a big, possession type guy. He makes contested catches in traffic. He’s got a big catch radius.”

-Outlook: A veteran, big bodied, piece was the ideal hope to fill the Colts pass catching void this offseason. That’s what they are getting in Johnson. Just like Gore, the age question for Johnson will be one to answer throughout his time in Indianapolis. The belief by some in Houston was that Johnson has lost a step. What he hasn’t lost though his the frame (6-3 and 220 pounds), which allowed him to put up Hall of Fame numbers with the Texans. The Colts skill group will welcome that frame to an already explosive playmaking core. Despite reaching his 30s, Johnson’s numbers have barley diminished while catching balls from six different quarterbacks the last two seasons. With Andrew Luck looking his direction, and the extra attention inevitably coming towards T.Y. Hilton, Johnson should have his fair share of chances to be an impact guy for one of the league’s best offenses.

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Bob McNair on Andre Johnson: Athletes never want to acknowledge losing a step

PHOENIX -- Houston Texans owner Bob McNair wasn't surprised Andre Johnson bristled at the idea of a reduced role next season. It's just human nature, McNair told me this week at the league's owners meetings at the Arizona Biltmore.

"Every athlete I think would like to play forever," McNair said when I asked if he was surprised to hear Johnson felt even before last season that he would be gone from the Texans after 2014. "They never want to acknowledge that they’ve lost a step or they can’t quite do what they did before. Just look at history. Look at all the players. It just happens time and time again. We don’t like to acknowledge that we’re getting older. None of us do. That’s just human nature, and I don’t think that’s going to change. ... They’re used to being a star and they’d like to continue being a star. I don’t blame 'em, I understand that."

Until now, there hasn't really been a public acknowledgment by the organization of the belief that Johnson had lost a step. When asked about Johnson several times since, Texans coach Bill O'Brien has repeated the refrain of how much respect he has for Johnson.

Johnson was granted permission to seek a trade earlier this month after being told the Texans planned to reduce his role significantly this season. They simply no longer believed he was a starter. When no trade options materialized, Johnson requested a release and was granted it. He signed with the Indianapolis Colts as a free agent.

Though I didn't quite phrase the question this way, McNair disagreed with any characterization that the Texans did anything other than honor Johnson's wishes this offseason.

"No, he had the opportunity to stay, but his role was changing," McNair said. "As a player gets older, that’s what happens. He wasn’t interested in the role that he thought was available and he wanted to pursue a role with another team so we honored his request."

Though the end was ugly for the Texans and Johnson, he's still the most iconic offensive player the franchise has ever had.

"I think when he’s ready to retire, we would love to honor him and give him an adequate ceremony recognizing what he’s done," McNair said. "And we’ll look forward to that."

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Chuck Pagano was surprised Andre Johnson was available

PHOENIX -- The carousel of available football players doesn't often include those of Hall of Fame caliber. So Colts coach Chuck Pagano didn't anticipate he'd have the opportunity to reunite with Andre Johnson in the NFL.

"Yeah, we were surprised, but anything can happen in the National Football League," said Pagano, who recruited Johnson to the University of Miami more than a decade and a half ago. "I just feel fortunate that we were able to get him."

I caught up with Pagano at the Arizona Biltmore, the site of this year's owners meetings, in which owners, head coaches and general managers gather to discuss league issues.

The departure of a franchise icon wasn't specific to the Texans. The Colts also released Reggie Wayne this offseason, Johnson's friend and college teammate. Wayne had spent the entirety of his 14-year career with the Colts since being drafted in 2001.

Releasing Wayne left a hole in the Colts locker room, especially with their young talented receivers like fourth-year player TY Hilton. It's a role Pagano hopes Johnson can fill.

"I don't know if you can ever replace 87, matter of fact I know you can't replace guys like that, so you try to find somebody that can become like that guy," Pagano said. "That mentor, that leader in that room, that brings that veteran presence, veteran leadership into that room to help the young guys. TY (Hilton) naturally going into his fourth year is going to have to assume some of that stuff. He's got to grow into that role. Obviously having a guy like Andre that's played 12 years is going to be a huge help as far as that's concerned."

When Johnson announced his decision to become an Indianapolis Colt, become part of the Texans' biggest rival, he did so with a photograph of him with Pagano.
"It's extremely exciting," Pagano said. "I mean, No. 1, we're getting a really good football player obviously. Having the relationship that I have with him, going all the way back to high school, recruiting him out of Miami High, knowing his family, knowing the type of man he is, the type of character he has, all that stuff comes into play. I think it's cool. It's really cool for us to be back together again. Reunited."

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What Numbers Will Frank Gore And Andre Johnson Wear In 2015?

Frank Gore will be wearing No. 23 in Indianapolis, the opposite number of another great Miami running back for the Colts (Edgerrin James). Johnson has gone with No. 81 as he begins a “new chapter” in his life. 

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Andre Johnson: I’m not in Indy to be the big dog

Unless Andre Johnson was injured, he was the leading threat on the Texans Offense pretty much from the moment when the team drafted him and his 1,012 catches over the last 12 seasons show how well suited he was for that role.

Even with the Texans DeAndre Hopkins taking a leap in his second season and the Texans struggling at quarterback last year, Johnson caught 85 passes and drew 146 targets overall. The Texans wanted to slash Johnson’s role for 2015, however, and that led Johnson to ask for and receive his release from the team.
Johnson landed with the Colts, where he will play with wide receivers T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief. Johnson said it isn’t important that he be the leading light in the offense.

“Just a big receiver, a big body receiver, that you could probably use in the red zone and stuff like that and help T.Y. out where guys can’t double him,” Johnson said, via the team’s website. “I’m just here to help. I’m not here to be no big dog, nothing like that. I’m here to help this organization win a Super Bowl. That’s my goal.”

Johnson’s role will be more than just red zone work, obviously, but he won’t be asked to do nearly as much as he did in Houston. That’s the right direction for things to be moving at this point in his career, especially since his big frame and football expertise make a perfect complement with what the Colts already get from their other young wideouts.

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Andre Johnson takes out 'thank you' ad in Houston newspaper

Andre Johnson spent 12 years as a member of the Houston Texans organization. That run ended this week when he became a member of the AFC South rival Indianapolis Colts. Johnson was released Monday, and then signed with Indianapolis on Wednesday.

It didn’t take him long to find a new team, which surprises nobody. It also didn’t take him long to do the right thing in thanking the Texans organization and the entire Houston community. He took out a full page ad in the Houston Chronicle in Sunday’s to be published edition on Sunday morning.

It reads, “I want to thank the Texans organization, Mr. McNair, my teammates and the City of Houston for your support during these past 12 years.”

He continues, “And especially to the fans–Thank you for allowing me to live out my childhood dream. It was an honor and a privilege to play in front of you every Sunday. No matter where I go Houston will always be home.”

Where Johnson is going in the immediate future is the city of Indianapolis, where he’ll team with the best quarterback under 25 in Andrew Luck, who has already taken his team to the playoffs three times in three seasons, and just last year played in his first AFC Championship Game.

The Colts let go of their own classy, veteran wide receiver from “The U” last week in Reggie Wayne. Wayne will forever be known as a Colt. Johnson will likely be remembered a Texan, but now the two share more DNA as great NFL receivers who played for the Colts.

Wayne similarly thanked his Colts family–teammates, organization and city–in the Indy Star on Friday. In many ways, Wayne’s “thank you” sounds quite similar to Johnson’s, but Wayne goes into greater detail.

The Colts hope they are getting the pre-Bill O’Brien Johnson, as he has struggled to stay healthy and play at his top level the past few years. The Texans, meanwhile, were simply willing to try new things at the position, though, arguably, Johnson’s struggles could also be blamed on not having a legitimate quarterback for much of that time.

The two teams play twice each season.

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proCane Free Agent Signing Roundup

A lot has happened in the last 48 hours in the NFL as far as Free Agent signings and our proCanes have been at the center of it all with several proCane stars joining new teams. See a recap of all the action below:

Former 49ers RB Frank Gore signed a 3-year $12 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts.

Former Texans WR Andre Johnson signed a 3-year $21 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts.

TE Jimmy Graham was traded from the New Orleans Saints to Seattle Seahawks.

Former Giants S Antrel Rolle signed a 3-year $11.25 million contract with the Chicago Bears.

Former Redskins WR Leonard Hankerson signed a 1-year $1 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons.

OT Eric Winston re-signed with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Former Broncos OL Orlando Franklin signed a 5-year $36 million contract with the San Diego Chargers.

OT Jason Fox re-signed with the Miami Dolphins.

MLB Jon Beason re-signed with the NY Giants.

Notable proCane Free Agents still available: Chris Myers, Brandon Meriweather, Santana Moss, Colin McCarthy, Reggie Wayne, Vince Wilfork, DJ Williams, Darryl Sharpton.

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Were Andre Johnson, new Texans regime doomed?

Despite all the positive language when Andre Johnson returned from his holdout with the Houston Texans last year, he made one thing clear Wednesday during a conference call with reporters from Indianapolis.

Things weren't right, even after his return.

"I knew it a while ago," said Johnson, who joined the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday, when asked when he knew he probably wouldn't be back with the Texans after last season. "I knew it before the season even started."

It's an interesting statement given the public comments that followed his return last season. It makes you wonder if Johnson ever trusted the Texans last season and gave the new regime a chance. It makes you wonder if he and the new Texans staff were ever on the same page. If they weren't, how could they have succeeded together?

When Johnson reported for training camp in July, he was asked if he saw himself finishing his career in Houston and said, "That's my plan."

He spoke of an "upbeat" atmosphere within the Texans organization, one that was more upbeat "probably than it has ever been."

He said all of his conversations with Texans coach Bill O'Brien were positive.

The public show of frustration with the organization began in 2013. After arguing with then-quarterback Matt Schaub and walking off the field before a game was over, Johnson was asked if he still wanted to be here. He replied, "I'm under contract, so I can't do anything about that."

During the spring, at an event in which he donated to the Houston Area Women's Center, Johnson revealed why he hadn't been at offseason workouts and didn't plan to attend the Texans' mandatory minicamp. He said he wasn't sure he wanted to remain with the Texans but that he didn't ask for a trade.

After some time apart during the summer of 2014, he returned to the facility and had a conversation with owner Bob McNair that seemed to smooth things over. Actually, it might not have really done that.

For most of the 2014 season, Johnson didn't seem disgruntled, but this interaction just before the bye week showed frustration with the team's direction.

"I'm trying to help the team win," Johnson said at the time. "But I only can do what I can do. I can't control everything. I only can control what I can. That's it. I can't block. I can't cover guys. I can't throw the ball. All I can do is run routes and try to get open and catch the ball."

He said he wasn't sure there was a light at the end of the tunnel, and when asked if he was getting open, he noted that we watch the games. Asked if he would speak to O'Brien about his role, he said he didn't think there was much to talk about. That followed a game in which Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Cary Williams told Sports Radio 610 he wasn't the same player.

Then there was this from Wednesday's conference call. Johnson was asked if that feeling he might be gone lingered during the 2014 season.

"It bothered me a little bit because you have people tell you that they want you to be a Texan for life, they want you to retire as a Texan, and then at the end the year they let you go," Johnson said. "Like I said, I knew. I just had a feeling it was going to happen."

You have to wonder how much that colored his 2014 season.

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Andre Johnson Comments on Signing with Colts: Top Takeaways and Reaction

Andre Johnson's move to the cross-division rival Indianapolis Colts was all about removing the one remaining hurdle in his Hall of Fame career: winning a Super Bowl. The seven-time Pro Bowler said as much Wednesday as he was announced as the latest high-profile veteran signing in Indianapolis.   

Johnson signed a three-year, $21 million contract, per ESPN's Josina Anderson, and joins fellow Miami product Frank Gore as the Colts' second offensive addition of the offseason. Johnson, who flew with Gore to Indianapolis on Tuesday, said the two viewed Indianapolis as a burgeoning title contender, per Kevin Bowen of

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Cortland Finnegan takes parting shot at Andre Johnson

Andre Johnson had plenty of highlight-reel moments during his 12 seasons with the Texans, but the most memorable for some fans may be the beatdown he laid on Tennessee cornerback Cortland Finnegan on Nov. 28, 2010 at then-Reliant Stadium.

Finnegan, known as one of the NFL’s top agitators during his career, was cut by the Dolphins last week and posted on his Instagram account that he is retiring. Of course, he did it with a not-so-subtle shot at Johnson, whose run with the Texans officially ended Monday.

“Spent 9 years doing something I Loved and it has payed off in so many ways.. To say I have been blessed is an understatement I am forever thankful.. I have made my share of mistakes and had moments of glory. I even got into a fight in an NFL Game ( he hits like a bish). I’m thankful for the friends I made on and off the field love yAll.. Time to move on and enjoy new people new places and new ideas.. I forgot to thank all the haters I love yAll to”

In the end, it’s just Finnegan being Finnegan.

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Andre Johnson: Frank Gore and I agree, we can win a Super Bowl

New Colts receiver Andre Johnson says he and fellow new Colt Frank Gore agreed to sign with Indianapolis together because they want to win a Super Bowl together.

Johnson said that as soon as the Texans cut him, Gore (a University of Miami teammate) was on the phone, trying to convince him that they should sign with the same team and try to get a ring.

“After I got released by the Texans, Frank called me,” Johnson said. “He called me right after it happened and was just like, ‘What are you gonna do?’ I’m like, ‘Frank, I don’t know. I just got released. I don’t know.’ I asked, him ‘Who do you think has the best chance to win a Super Bowl?’ And he was like, ‘Indy.’ And I was like, ‘That’s my same choice too so let’s do it, let’s go for it.’ And they were able to get both of us here.”

Johnson said he’s looking forward to playing with Andrew Luck (by far the best quarterback he’s ever played with) and thinks the Colts have what it takes to win the Super Bowl in 11 months.

“Me and Frank are here to try to help this organization get over the hump and get a ring,” Johnson said.

That would be quite a way to wrap up a great career.

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Andre Johnson currently expected to sign with Colts

Andre Johnson is one of the top free agents on the free agency market now that the Houston Texans have released him. There are quite a few teams with interest in signing him this offseason, and at this point in time it appears that he will end up signing with the Indianapolis Colts.

According to Zierlein, the Colts are expected to get the package deal of Frank Gore and Johnson. Both players would fill major needs for the Colts, and they would immediately improve the Colts’ already dominant offense. There are plenty of other teams interested in both players, but Indianapolis offers them a chance to compete for a Super Bowl.

It would be a very intriguing pickup for the Colts, especially after they announced earlier this offseason that they would not be re-signing Reggie Wayne.

During the 2014 season with the Texans, Johnson ended up catching 85 passes for 936 yards and three touchdowns. At 33 years old, he still has plenty of good football left in the tank. Houston wanted to keep him, but weren’t willing to continue giving him the type of role that he was wanting.

Assuming Johnson does end up signing with the Colts, he will immediately be plugged into the number two wide receiver role. Indianapolis currently has T.Y. Hilton as their uncontested number one target, with Donte Moncrief and Duron Carter backing him up. Johnson would fill that major void, and is exactly the type of receiver that will fit alongside of Hilton.

Andrew Luck already led the Colts as the number one passing offense in the NFL last season. This move will be an upgrade over what they were working with last season, and will make his job even easier.

Johnson and the Colts don’t have a contract worked out yet, but he is reportedly flying to Indianapolis to meet up with the Colts.

Needless to say, this would be a huge pickup for the Colts and a big step towards making a Super Bowl run. Ryan Grigson and Jim Irsay have been known to be very aggressive, and this is just another proof of that fact.

If Gore is also signed, then the Colts offense will have improved every weakness that they had from last season.

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Andre Johnson's brother names Packers as possible landing spot

The Packers re-signed Randall Cobb, but he may not be the only free agent wide receiver that has interest in playing in Green Bay next year. According to the brother of Andre Johnson, the former Houston Texans wideout has his eyes on the frozen tundra as well as other locations.

Johnson, of course, is an All-Pro and likely Hall of Famer who would improve the receiving corps of any team he joins. He became available the Texans released him following a failed attempt to locate a trade partner. While no longer the otherworldly talent he was in his younger days, Johnson still commands extra defensive attention. Playing with Houston's rotation of lackluster quarterbacks, he still produced a near 1,000-yard season in 2014.

While the Packers don't lack for pass catchers with Cobb back in the mix, Johnson could give the team its best collection of weapons since the 2011 group that featured Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings, James Jones, Donald Driver, Cobb and Jermichael Finley.

But while Johnson apparently told his brother that Green Bay interests him, would he actually want to make the sacrifices to play there? More so than the money, the chief catalyst for Johnson asking for his release from Houston was the team's request that he take on a reduced role in the offense. With the Packers, Johnson would be no better than a third option in the passing game, and he might not even be that. The team likes what it has in Davante Adams, a well-built wideout who expects to take a big step in 2015. Even if Adams isn't a better player currently, he could surpass Johnson sometime this season.

Not convinced? Consider DeAndre Hopkins, the second-year receiver who became the No. 1 option in the Texans' passing game last season. Like Adams, Hopkins stands 6'1", 215 pounds and possesses strong hands and great leaping ability. Both players are quicker than fast, but have a knack for creating separation. Given that Hopkins overtook Johnson in Houston's pecking order, it wouldn't be a shock to see Adams do the same in Green Bay.

For now, Johnson is nothing more than a hypothetical. After all, general manager Ted Thompson rarely makes splashes into free agency, and when he does it usually comes on defense.

At the same time, Thompson has shown willingness to break away from his approach for the right player. Because his Texans released Johnson, signing him wouldn't affect the Packers' comp pick calculation, a factor the team would consider. It would also give Johnson the chance to play with reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers, a stark departure from the rotation of forgettable signal callers Houston has trotted out.

Still, it's hard to see a union happening. Johnson is going to have plenty of options, perhaps including either of the two teams that played in the Super Bowl last month. While the Packers can offer the chance to contend for a title, there's probably a better fit for Johnson elsewhere.

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Andre Johnson Is Released After 12 Seasons With the Texans

Andre Johnson was released by the Houston Texans, and quarterback Ryan Mallett agreed to return to the team on Monday.

Johnson, a 12-year veteran and the longest-tenured Texan, was a first-round draft pick in 2003, joining the expansion team in its second season.

He had 85 catches for 936 yards last season, but the Texans were beginning to see DeAndre Hopkins as their top receiving threat.

“After exhausting all options of a possible trade, we informed Andre Johnson that he would be released,” General Manager Rick Smith said. “No player in the history of this franchise has represented the team, city and community in a more professional way. Andre is a Hall of Fame-caliber player and we appreciate his years of service and contributions to our team.”

Johnson, 33, is a seven-time Pro Bowler with seven 1,000-yard receiving seasons and has 1,012 receptions for 13,597 yards in his career.

Johnson led the N.F.L. in yards receiving in 2008 and 2009. His career high came in 2012, when he had 1,598 yards receiving and the Texans reached the playoffs for the second time.

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Texans won’t cut Andre Johnson until they know they can’t trade him

The Texans gave receiver Andre Johnson permission to seek a trade.  Johnson rejected it, asking to be released instead.

The Texans haven’t.  And they apparently won’t, at least not for now.

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports that the Texans won’t cut Johnson until they’re sure no trade will be made.

It’s a high-stakes game of P.R. chicken.  From Johnson’s perspective, no one will trade for a contract that will pay the player $11.5 million this year — so why shouldn’t the Texans just cut him?  From the team’s perspective, maybe a franchise that hopes to acquire Johnson at a reduced rate will give something up to get the deal done sooner than later — so why should the Texans let him go?

Maybe the Texans should consider everything Johnson has done for the franchise over the last dozen years.  They’ve made it clear they don’t want Johnson, telling him that he’ll have a reduced role in the hopes of provoking him to say he wants to leave.  Now that the Texans got what they wanted, why would they delay his ability to hit the market along with the other veteran free agents?

The Texans have every right to squat on his rights.  But that sends a bad message to Johnson and to the rest of the players who, if their careers go incredibly well, eventually will be in the same position.

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Bill O'Brien talks Andre Johnson

HOUSTON – Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien says life is always busy in the NFL. Well, the week his football team just went through is a perfect example of it.

"We're just trying to put together as competitive of a football team as we can," O'Brien said Sunday.

The first steps in doing just that were taken when the team elected to re-sign corner back Kareem Jackson and offensive lineman Derek Newton over the weekend.
Jackson received a 4-year, $34 million deal while Newton signed a 5-year, $26.5 million contract.

"What we try to do is do the best we can to keep our core players together," O'Brien said. "Kareem and Derek are two guys that are core players."

Along with being those "core players", O'Brien says the two exemplify what the organization is looking for when they evaluate future additions to their locker room.
"I think it's a great example of hard work and perseverance," O'Brien said. "Guys that come into this organization and are good citizens, and play hard and do everything they're asked of, they're going to get rewarded and that's what happened to Kareem and Derek."

That "core player" distinction is an interesting one. Many would argue wide receiver Andre Johnson and center Chris Myers fit that same description. There is, however, one noticeable difference.


O'Brien had nothing but great things to say about the two veterans the team is parting ways with, especially when it comes to Johnson. Despite the assertions the wide receiver has made publicly about being asked to take a "reduced role" in the upcoming 2015 season, O'Brien appreciates what #80 brought to the team.

"I've said this over and over again, Andre Johnson will go down as one of the best receivers to ever play this game," O'Brien said. "I have a ton of respect for Andre. Andre did everything we asked him to do and then some, just a great player. He'll always be a Houston Texan."

The Texans continue to be linked to several free agents, but quarterback continues to be the one position everyone is looking at.

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Colts Reportedly Willing to Pay Andre Johnson $10M Per Year

According to Bleacher Report NFL Reporter Jason Cole, the Indianapolis Colts are one of three teams that are willing to pay Houston Texans wideout Andre Johnson the roughly $10 million dollars in base salary that he is set to be paid in 2015 on his current contract (via CBS Sportsline):

“What Johnson is hoping for, according to a source I’ve talked to, is that he gets cut in this process,” Cole said on Tuesday. “He doesn’t want to be traded. He wants to be out there on the market and negotiate the best deal that he can possibly get. He’s due to make $10 million in base salary this year, and there are about three teams out there, according to that source, that are willing to (pay him) that $10 million number — and possibly even better up-front money overall. …

“One of the teams that you can look for, that would be interested in Johnson — and that Johnson would be interested in playing for — is the Indianapolis Colts. No. 1, it’s Andrew Luck. … No. 2, it would be within the same division, and allow him to get a little bit of revenge over the Houston Texans.”

Of course, with Johnson recently requesting to be either released or traded from the Houston Texans this offseason and the Colts in real need of a proven wide receiver, it could become a distinct possibility.

Earlier, we “Analyzed Andre Johnson” for the Colts and while we agreed he’s still a nice player, our hope was that the Colts could do even better at acquiring a #2 wideout, specifically by mentioning the Chicago Bears Brandon Marshall. At 34 years old, Johnson is clearly on the decline of his career, and he’s not quite the same player that he once was:

The fact that the Colts would be willing to pay him $10 million in base salary is a somewhat scary thought and may not be the most prudent allocation of resources if true. On name recognition alone Johnson is worth such a high number, but his recent production has indicated otherwise. According to Spotrac, one of the premier salary cap valuation web sites available, a fair valuation of Johnson actually places him more in the $6.4 million annual range on his next contract:

Andre Johnson (WR, HOU)
3 years, $19,191,228 ($6.5M guaranteed)
Average Salary: $6,397,076

It’s somewhat hard to believe Johnson made it through the 2014 season in Houston. In any event the time appears right to part ways after 12 seasons. Now 33 years old, Johnson has dipped in production (especially finding the endzone) but can still be a major contributor to plenty of NFL offenses. Statistically over the past two seasons he’s valuing out at over $6M per year, though it’s perfectly possible he can push $10M should the market be there.

ohnson may be a nice piece for the Colts as a complimentary #2 wide receiver to deep threat T.Y. Hilton; however, he’s not worth the $10 million in base salary given his recent production. That’s an awful lot of money for a wideout who is set to turn 34 years old and whose best days are clearly behind him.

For comparison’s purposes, at age 30, Brandon Marshall is due a $9.575 cap hit in 2015, which is less than the amount the Colts are reportedly willing to pay Johnson. On T.Y. Hilton‘s next projected contract, who’s a better player than Johnson at this point in their respective careers, he’s only expected to command around $9 million annually.

Still, if push comes to shove, Johnson would be a welcome addition to the Colts receiving corps if there are no other proven options available. Even given his diminished skill-set, he still figures to be an upgrade over both Reggie Wayne and Hakeem Nicks at this stage of their respective careers. It’s just our sincere hope that it’s not at his current exorbitant $10 million dollar price tag. 

In Johnson’s defense too, there are some highly valued NFL experts, who still think he can play wideout at a high level:

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The Patriots Aren’t Getting Andre Johnson and They Don’t Need to

Here we go again.

Last May, reports emerged that veteran Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson was planning to hold out in hopes of getting traded from the rebuilding Houston squad to a contender. Some speculated the Patriots could be in on the ensuing bidding war, but none took place: Johnson reported to training camp on July 25, effectively ending the trade saga.

On Monday, the Houston Chronicle reported Johnson asked to be traded or cut after the team told him his role would be reduced next season. And this time, it appears the threat of his departure will come to fruition.

Cue the speculation of Johnson donning a Patriots uniform next season.

On the surface, the move makes sense: even at 33, Johnson is a tremendous talent with a legitimate shot at the Hall of Fame. But he’s not coming to New England.
Any team that trades for Johnson becomes responsible for his base salary, which comes in at $21.5 million for the next two years. And no team is going to assume that much salary for two seasons of a player who only netted 936 yards and three touchdowns last season, regardless of the mitigating factors.

The much more likely scenario is the Texans cut Johnson, eating $7.3 million in dead money before June 1st or about $4.6 million after — cap hits they would also swallow in the unlikely event of a trade.

This leaves free agency, where Johnson will command just a fraction of the salary he’s due as of today. Think along the lines of Steve Smith’s three-year, $11.5-million pact or a little higher, given Johnson’s being a year younger than Smith was when he signed his deal and his coming off a slightly (200 more yards, one less touchdown) more productive season.

Already millions over the 2015 salary cap (though slated to be $14 million under if and when they decline Darrelle Revis’s option), and with pressing needs elsewhere, the Patriots aren’t about to drop $4-5 million per year on an over-the-hill wideout, even one of Johnson’s caliber.

Remember, this is a receiving corps that just helped Tom Brady torch — relatively speaking — the best defense in a decade to the tune of 328 yards and four touchdowns.

Between Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell, Tim Wright, Danny Amendola and even the seemingly forgotten Aaron Dobson, the Patriots don’t lack for receiving threats. With his $5.7 million cap hit, Amendola is a likely candidate for restructure, but cutting him outright will only save the team $2.1 million before June 1, nowhere near enough to pay Johnson.

The speculation is Johnson wants to play with a contender, and given the Texans’ history, thats understandable. So who better than the reigning champs? Brady would be far and away the best quarterback he’s ever played with, and would likely spark a rebound season or two. But unless Johnson will take a check at dramatically under his market value, that’s simply a pipe dream.

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Andre Johnson asks Texans to release him

The Texans recently gave receiver Andre Johnson permission to seek a trade.  Johnson won’t be doing that.

Johnson’s agent, Kennard McGuire, tells PFT that he has asked the Texans to release Johnson.

The impasse arose when the Texans recently informed Johnson he’d have a reduced role in 2015.  Johnson responded by saying that he won’t be happy with a reduced role, so it would be better for him to be elsewhere.

The Texans responded by granting him permission to seek a trade.  McGuire believes deliberately leaked to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle the notion that Johnson asked for a trade in an effort to minimize local criticism of the franchise for its treatment of a player who has been with the Texans for all but one year of the team’s existence.

“After 12 years of being a model citizen, an ambassador, and the face of this franchise, he deserves more than a mishandled P.R. campaign that showcases only one side of the story,” McGuire told PFT on Wednesday morning.  “After 12 years, he deserves to be sent off in a better way.”

Indeed he does.  The Texans know that no one will pay $11.5 million to a receiver who’ll turn 34 in July.  At most, a trade would have happened with Johnson doing a new deal.  So instead of doing a new deal elsewhere as part of a trade, he should have been cut and given the chance to do that new deal elsewhere.

The ball is now back in the team’s court.  The only right thing to do at this point is to thank Johnson for his 12 years of loyal service and release him, giving him a six-day head start on the unrestricted free agency market.

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Andre Johnson 'laughed' at not starting for Texans

The more we learn about wideout Andre Johnson's pending breakup with the Houston Texans, the more it appears the team made an awkward mess of the split.

Johnson told the Houston Chronicle on Monday that coach Bill O'Brien sat him down last week to say that he shouldn't expect to catch more than about 40 passes in 2015.

"I just laughed," said Johnson, the team's all-time leading receiver. "They gave me my role, and I just laughed at them. How do you tell a guy who is used to catching 80 balls a year that he was going to catch 40?"

O'Brien wasn't finished, informing Johnson that he wouldn't even start next season alongside DeAndre Hopkins.

"I was floored," Johnson said. "I don't feel like there is a guy on that team that can outplay me or outwork me. I mean, who am I going to play behind?

"So I was real honest with him: 'If that's your role for me, you're going to be dealing with a miserable football player.'"

Johnson's agent, Kennard McGuire, told a Houston radio station that only when "certain things were expressed" by the team, did talk bubble up about Johnson seeking a trade or his release.

While it wasn't a shock to see the Texans balk at paying Johnson, 33, more than $20 million over the next two seasons, their handling of the matter was shabby. Especially considering how weak the receiver position is behind Hopkins and his one-time mentor. 

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After asking out, Andre Johnson thanks Houston via social media

Monday’s request by Andre Johnson that the Texans trade or release him caught many off guard. Be it Facebook or Twitter and everything in between, NFL fans everywhere took to social media to express their feelings on the unofficial end of an era in Houston.

Johnson, meanwhile, used the same channels of communication to thank Houston and Texans fans with a message on his Instagram account.

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Andre Johnson will be released if Texans can’t find trade partner

One of the standout wide receivers of his generation is set to leave Houston.

According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, the Texans are allowing Andre Johnson to seek a trade. If Johnson is not dealt, he will be released, the Chronicle reported.

According to the Chronicle, the Texans told Johnson he would have a lesser role in 2015, which led him to ask for his departure from Houston.

Johnson is slated to make $10 million in salary in 2015, per NFLPA data.

The No. 3 overall pick in the 2003 draft, Johnson has played his entire 12-season career with Houston, catching 1,012 passes for 13,597 yards and 64 TDs. He has made seven Pro Bowls.

While Johnson turns 34 in July, he should nonetheless appeal to clubs looking to add a proven veteran presence to their receiving corps. He caught 85 passes for 936 yards and three TDs in 2014.

A Miami (Fla.) product, Johnson quietly starred on a string of mediocre-to-poor Texans teams early in his career. Houston finally made the playoffs in 2011, his ninth NFL campaign.

If Johnson’s Texans career is indeed at an end, he will leave having caught 10 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown in his final game with the club, a 23-17 victory over Jacksonville in December. Though the Texans took care of business in the season finale, they fell just short of the playoffs. In many ways, it was an apt end to Johnson’s run in Houston — the star wide receiver doing his job well while the team fell just short in the end.

With Johnson likely gone, third-year wideout DeAndre Hopkins will become the Texans’ go-to receiver, a role he’s probably ready to assume.

Nevertheless, it will be jarring to see Andre Johnson, one of the Texans’ all-time greats now and forever, playing for someone else.

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Andre Johnson Contract: Latest Rumors and News on Negotiations with Texans

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that Johnson may be on his way out of Houston if he doesn't take a reduced salary, via Around The NFL:

Per Spotrac, Johnson is owed $10.5 million in salary and would be a $16.14 million cap hit in 2015, as he's entering the sixth season of a seven-year, $67.8 million contract.'s Joel Corry brought up a pertinent point prior to Wednesday's report surfacing:

Before detractors give Johnson too hard of a time about how he has already made plenty of money, etc., let's remember the quarterbacks the Texans have had in place for him.

The best option Johnson's ever had under center was Matt Schaub, who's been succeeded by the likes of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Case Keenum. Houston hasn't fielded a roster good enough to get to the playoffs more than twice since Johnson was chosen No. 3 overall in the 2003 NFL draft.

Johnson has been a consummate professional and stuck by the Texans through their consistent losing. It'd be hard to blame him for refusing to take a pay cut.
If Houston does opt to release the veteran Pro Bowler, who will turn 34 in July, one can bet that plenty of suitors will pop up eager to land Johnson in free agency.
The chance to play for a contender elsewhere and the lack of incentive to budge on his salary leaves Johnson in a win-win situation.

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Texans' O'Brien: We don't want Andre Johnson to play anywhere else

Texans general manager Rick Smith told reporters that Larry Fitzgerald's restructured deal won't impact Andre Johnson's situation in Houston. Coach Bill O'Brien also backed up Smith's comments, reiterating that the team wants Johnson to retire as a Texan.

"We don't want him to play anywhere else. He's a Houston Texan," O'Brien said, per the team's official website.

Johnson, 33, appeared in 15 games in 2014, but had his arguably his worst statistical season. He finished with 85 catches for 936 yards and three touchdowns. He is due to make $10.5 million in 2015, and $11 million in 2016 before becoming a free agent in 2017.

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Per game, Andre Johnson has case for best ever

Andre Johnson has been a quiet giant in the NFL pass-catching industry for over a decade with the Houston Texans.

His blend of height, fierce competitiveness -- while running routes and with the ball in the air -- coupled with an always frighteningly toned body, deceptive speed and springy athleticism, made him one of the most productive receivers in league history.

Some have forgotten that Johnson had a 39-inch vertical at 230 pounds at his combine, and ran a 4.40 at his pro day.

(For perspective, a 220-pound Julio Jones had a 38.5-inch vertical at the 2010 combine.)

Now in the sunset of his NFL playing career, the soon-to-be 34-year-old wideout finds himself in an interesting situation.

Does he stay with the upstart Texans, who, at the very least, are a team that may be a few years away from Super Bowl contention? Or should he bolt to a squad ready to win a ring this season?

First, let's take a look back at how we got to this point.

The U
Johnson was a foundational piece of the glorious Miami Hurricanes of the early 2000s, an epic collection of teams that redefined swagger and shipped an absurd amount of future All-Pros to the NFL.

In 2001, 10 of Johnson's 37 receptions went for touchdowns, and he averaged 18.4 yards per catch. Miami won the national title.

The next year, the heavily-favored Hurricanes lost in the championship game to the Ohio State Buckeyes in extremely controversial fashion, but the 6-foot-2, 230-pound rock of a receiver actually upped his yards-per-catch average to 20.0 while hauling in nine more scores.

In what ultimately became one of the worst draft decisions at wide receiver in NFL history, in the 2003 draft, the Detroit Lions picked speedster Charles Rogers from neighboring Michigan State No. 2 overall, which allowed the Texans to land Johnson with the third pick.

With David Carr and Tony Banks as his quarterbacks, the former All-American snagged 66 passes for 976 yards with four touchdowns as a rookie.
The Best Ever Per Game

There aren't many who'd list Johnson as the greatest wide receiver ever, but on a game-by-game basis, the numbers, well, just take a look.
Among those who played at least 120 games in their professional careers, Johnson is the only wideout in NFL history reach an average of 80 yards receiving per game.

Andre Johnson
Torry Holt
Marvin Harrison
Jerry Rice*
Lance Alworth*
Michael Irvin*
Terrell Owens
Anquan Boldin172
Brandon Marshall136
Larry Fitzgerald170

That's top-of-resume, Hall-of-Fame-worthy stuff right there.

Johnson led the NFL in receptions (103 and 115) in 2006 and 2008 and receiving yards (1,575 and 1,569) in 2008 and 2009.

That remarkable two-year run was followed by an 86-grab, 1,216-yard, eight-touchdown 2010, a dazzling stat line he accomplished while playing in just 13 games.
A few other records Johnson owns: he's the only player in league history with 60-plus grabs in his first eight seasons, and the only player with four seasons with both 100-plus catches and 1,400-plus yards

Oh, and no player has more 10-plus reception games than Johnson's 22. Jerry Rice had 17 such games in the regular season.

Not exactly playing for a contender
Because the Texans were in their second year as a franchise when they drafted Johnson, most realized it would take a few years for the team to become competitive in the AFC.

But a few years turned into nearly a decade in the NFL for Johnson before Houston advanced to the postseason.

On both occasions -- at the end of the 2011 and 2012 seasons -- the Texans beat the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round but were defeated by Baltimore Ravens
the first time around and the New England Patriots in his last postseason appearance.

In four playoff games, the consistently prolific Johnson amassed 25 receptions for 358 yards with a touchdown.

During his pro career, Houston has only managed an 84-108 record, and Johnson's been on a pair of two-win teams.

Not that the lack of success the Texans have had diminishes the achievements of the stud wideout, but unfortunately, it would have been a treat to witness him in the spotlight of many more super-important games.

The fight
The Texans' continuous struggles likely irked Johnson, and his frustration bubbled over in the fourth quarter of a late November 2010 outing against the divisional rival Tennessee Titans and chippy cornerback Cortland Finnegan.

After being pressed at the line by Finnegan aggressively and high, Johnson instantly retaliated by ripping the defensive back's helmet off. The two spun around, and Johnson's lid flew yards down the field before the much larger wideout landed punches to Finnegan's head.

It was one of the ugliest on-field brawls between two players in a long time and led to a fine of $25,000 for each.

Something tells me both Johnson and Finnegan probably would have been suspended if the fight went down last season.
What's next?
Occasional injuries have nagged Johnson throughout his career. He missed seven games in 2007, three games in 2010, and nine games in 2011.

However, he's been on the sidelines for only one game over the past three years.

After Matt Schaub's drastic decline that led to his release, Houston has started T.J. Yates, Matt Leinart, Case Keenum, Ryan Mallett and Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Unsurprisingly, with some of those signal-callers, Johnson had his worst season in 2014 since his rookie campaign.

Then again, he still racked up 85 catches, 936 yards with three scores. As a part of the seven-year, $62.7 million contract he signed in 2010, Johnson is set to be a $16.1 million cap hit in 2015.

In December, he said "I hope it all works out, where I can finish my career here and hopefully get this organization a Super Bowl before I retire," per the Houston Chronicle.

Will Johnson be willing to take a pay cut by way of a contract restructure? If not, a handful of playoff-ready teams would likely love to add a player of Johnson's caliber despite his age.

Regardless of what happens, Johnson, one of the consummate NFL receiving technicians of the 21st century, has had a career worthy of Hall of Fame consideration.

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Andre Johnson is fading fast?

The last game Andre Johnson played in 2014 is the type of performance Fantasy owners still expect from him on a weekly basis. We always cling to the hope our favorite stars will never get old and never stop playing well.

Unfortunately, that's not always the case.

Johnson ended his season with 10 catches for 134 yards and a touchdown against Jacksonville in Week 17. He saw 15 targets in the game and looked like he could still be a dominant force.

But that was Johnson's only 100-yard game of the season. And he scored just three touchdowns on the year. He finished with 105 Fantasy points, which made him the No. 41 receiver in standard leagues, and this was after finishing in the Top 12 the previous two seasons. His final stats were 85 catches, 936 yards and the three scores.

It's clear Johnson, 33, is losing the fight with father time when it comes to his career. He's no longer a dynamic playmaker -- DeAndre Hopkins is now the better receiver in Houston -- and poor quarterback play is also slowing Johnson down. He averaged just 11.0 yards per catch, which was his lowest total when playing at least 13 games since 2006. That average has also been on a steady decline from 14.9 yards per catch in 2011.

The Texans have to address their quarterback situation, and who starts could have a big impact on Johnson. Ryan Mallett is a free agent, but he could be Johnson's best bet for a return to form over Ryan Fitzpatrick or Tom Savage.

But even with the right quarterback, barring a trade for Aaron Rodgers or Andrew Luck, it's hard to count on Johnson as an upper-echelon Fantasy receiver this year. He's expected back in Houston even though he might have to restructure his contract (he's due $10.5 million guaranteed and will count $16.1 million against the salary cap), but Hopkins is now the Texans receiver to covet.

Hopkins had 76 catches for 1,210 yards and six touchdowns and was the No. 15 Fantasy receiver, and he's worth drafting as early as Round 4 in the majority of leagues. Johnson is a No. 3 Fantasy receiver at best, and he's better in PPR formats. I wouldn't draft Johnson before Round 7 or 8 in PPR leagues and likely Round 9 in standard leagues.

He could easily surprise us this season a la Steve Smith, who had a Top 20 Fantasy season in 2014 at 35. And Anquan Boldin was also a Top 24 Fantasy receiver in 2014 despite being 34.

More often than not, however, Johnson will leave us disappointed this season. He's worth drafting with a late-round pick, and hopefully there are enough positive moments like we saw in Week 17 last season to keep us happy.

Just understand he's no longer the same dominant receiver we've seen for most of his career. Those days are behind him, and it's unlikely he can recapture that sustained excellence again.

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Andre Johnson Contemplates His Future

Going into the Texans season-finale Andre Johnson hadn’t given much thought to his future, but that changed after the Texans 23-17 win over the Jaguars at NRG Stadium.

“One of my teammates came up to me and said ‘I hope this is not your last game here,’” he recalled. “I think that’s when it really hit me and I was like ‘Man…’, because, I really hadn’t thought about it.”

Johnson’s 10 catch, 134-yard day was his best of 2014, and his fourth quarter eight-yard touchdown catch put the Texans back in front for good.

“I can still play the game, I know that,” he said.

While at 33 years old, with a dozen NFL season’s under his belt, he isn’t the same player he once was, but Johnson still had a productive 2014 season, catching 85 passes for 936 yards, and watching his team go from two wins a year ago, to nine.

“Our new coaching staff, coming in and getting a 2-14 team and getting us to nine wins, everybody bought in and gave it everything they had every week,” he said.

While Johnson hadn’t given much thought to this season potentially being his last with the Texans, the possibility hasn’t been lost on fans and media. He will count over $16 million against the salary cap next season, second highest (J.J. Watt) on the team. Releasing him would free up close to $9 million, but the last thing Bob McNair wants to do is let his franchise’s first star finish his career in another team’s uniform.

Johnson’s uncle, Andre Melton, told the Houston Chronicle his nephew would take a paycut to remain with the Texans. While Johnson denies ever discussing taking a paycut with his uncle, he has said he’d like to play another three seasons with the Texans, and in the Chronicle story acknowledged taking salary reductions is part of the business.

“Whatever is meant to happen will happen,” Johnson said. “I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.”

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Andre Johnson reaches 1,000-catch milestone

Case Keenum received the shotgun snap, took one small step back and fired a pass out to his left. The nose of the football hit between the 8 and 0 on Andre Johnson’s Texans jersey.

Johnson caught the ball three yards behind the line of scrimmage, sprinted ahead and fought off a charging Terrell Suggs for a 4-yard gain in the second quarter.
A routine play. A special play. A milestone play.

It was Johnson’s 1,000th career catch, making him the 10th player in NFL history – and second fastest – to reach that milestone.

“It puts you in an elite group,” Johnson said. “I tell people I never thought I would be in this situation.”

It took Johnson 168 games to reach the milestone. Indianapolis’ Marvin Harrison reached the mark in 167 games. Johnson missed last week’s game at Indianapolis with a concussion, but he reached the milestone at NRG Stadium.

“It was just special to do it here because we have fans that have been riding with us for a long time, and I’ve been here to experience a lot of the things that have went on with this organization,” said Johnson, the Texans’ No. 3 overall pick 2003. “It was just fun to do it here.”

Johnson finished Sunday with six catches for 65 yards. He has 1,002 receptions, moving into ninth place on the all-time list.

“This guy is a hall of fame wide receiver,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said. “I just have a tremendous amount of respect for him. He’s one of the best leaders in our locker room and he does it by example, which I really respect.”

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Andre Johnson passes concussion protocol, will play vs. Ravens

Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson said Thursday he passed the NFL’s concussion protocol and will play against the Ravens on Sunday at NRG Stadium. But the team’s leading wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, may not be able to go because of an ankle sprain – a decision won’t be made until Sunday morning – and tight end Garrett is again out with same, coach Bill O’Brien reported. But outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus will return after missing the Indianapolis game with back issues.

Johnson missed last Sunday’s 17-10 road loss to the Colts after suffering a concussion during the Texans’ 27-13 win against the Jaguars in Jacksonville on Dec. 7. It was the 12-year veteran’s second concussion in the past two seasons.

“I feel normal,” he said.

He remembers briefly blacking out but was told by center Chris Myers that he didn’t close his eyes after the hit. To Johnson, the helmet-to-helmet contact and his sudden fall weren’t scary. His family members saw it differently.

“It was more scary for other people than it was for me,” said Johnson, who watched a replay of the hit. “I talk about it like nothing happened. Everybody else who saw it said it was a scary moment for them.”

Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith was fined and penalized for the hit. Johnson said he didn’t have an issue with Smith’s tackle, which immediately floored the wideout.

“I felt my arms and stuff tense up,” Johnson said. “I remember everything.”

Johnson was inactive last Sunday, when the Texans lost quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tom Savage due to injury.

No. 80′s thoughts while watching two more QBs go down: “Where is the bad luck coming from?”

Johnson welcomed the return of Case Keenum, who’s expected to be the team’s starting quarterback against Baltimore.

“It’s crazy. He was let go and now he’s back,” Johnson said. “It just shows you how things work in this business. Just because a guy is gone at one point doesn’t mean he won’t be back. I’m glad to have him back. He played his college ball here. He’s from Texas. So maybe this is where he belongs.”

The 12-year Texan will face ex-coach Gary Kubiak on Sunday. Johnson wished the Ravens offensive coordinator the best but acknowledged Kubiak is in a different world now.

“I had some of my best years under him,” Johnson said. “I enjoyed the time that I played for him. It’ll be a good chance to catch up with him. I haven’t talked to him since he was here.”

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Andre Johnson back on practice field Wednesday

Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson has taken a step forward toward his goal of playing Sunday against Baltimore by practicing Wednesday.

He missed the Week 15 game against Indianapolis with a concussion.

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Andre Johnson 'feeling a lot better' after missing Week 15

Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson, who was unable to play in Week 15 against the Colts due to a concussion, said he is doing good and feeling a lot better, according to

"Yeah, I feel like I'll be out there," Johnson said Tuesday.

Johnson, who took a helmet-to-helmet blow in Week 14, was unable to return to the game and has been sidelined for the last week after failing to receive medical clearance.

Coach Bill O'Brien said Monday he believes Johnson will be able to play.

"It looks like we will have Andre Johnson back for Sunday."

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Andre Johnson named Man of the Year finalist

Andre Johnson was named a finalist for the 2014 Walter Payton Man of the Year award for his outstanding community service and excellence on the field.

On Tuesday morning, the NFL announced the 32 players nominated by each team. As a nominee, Johnson will receive a $1,000 donation from the NFL Foundation to the charity of his choice. This year’s winner will be announced during the “Fourth Annual NFL Honors” awards show on Saturday, January 31 and will receive an additional $20,000 donation to a charity in his name.

The two-time All-pro recently spent $16,266 during his annual Toys “R” Us holiday shopping spree, giving 11 children selected by Child Protective Services 80 seconds to fill their bins with as many toys as possible. For Thanksgiving, he gave out turkeys to families in need in Houston’s Fifth Ward. Those two events, plus a third he hosts in the Miami area, are his favorite events each year.

“Back home, we call it the Andre Johnson Community Day,” Johnson said on Tuesday’s Verizon Players show on Texans Radio. “I just have a big barbeque for the neighborhood I grew up in. We have a lot of rides, bounce houses, and a big picnic where everybody just comes out and has fun. I get to see a lot of people I went to elementary school with and it’s pretty fun. It’s right across the street from my elementary school, the same park I grew up playing on.”

Johnson gives back to the community year-round, serving as a positive role model and helping to empower at-risk youth through the Andre Johnson Charitable Foundation.

The overall winner of the Walter Payton award will be selected by a panel of judges, including Commissioner Roger Goodell, former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, Connie Payton, Frank Gifford, Anthony Munoz, and the 2013 winner Charles Tillman.

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Andre Johnson likely to play vs. Ravens

“I think he feels better today,” head coach Bill O’Brien said Monday. “Looks like we would have Andre Johnson back for Sunday.”

On December 7, Johnson suffered a concussion on a helmet-to-helmet hit in Jacksonville. After failing to clear the league’s concussion protocol, Johnson was inactive in Sunday’s 17-10 loss to the Colts.

The twelve-year veteran All-Pro receiver is currently four catches from becoming the tenth player in NFL history to reach 1,000 career receptions. If he does so against the Ravens in Week 16, he’ll become the second fastest player to reach the milestone, accomplishing it in his 168th game.

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Jaguars LB fined for hit on Texans’ Andre Johnson

Jacksonville linebacker Telvin Smith was fined $22,500 for his helmet-to-helmet hit on receiver Andre Johnson in the Texans’ 27-13 victory on Sunday.

After making a catch inside the 5-yard line, Johnson was hit by Smith. Johnson was hit so hard he lost his helmet and suffered a concussion.

Johnson did not play in Sunday’s game at Indianapolis.

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Andre Johnson a game-time decision

Texans wideout Andre Johnson will be a game-time decision on Sunday.

Johnson is battling a concussion, and was unable to take part in practice on Thursday due to the issue. Head coach Bill O'Brien told reporters the team won't know whether Johnson can play until Sunday, making him a game-time decision.

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Andre Johnson day-to-day; must pass concussion protocol

The longest-tenured Texan may not be available for his team’s biggest game of the season.

Veteran wide receiver Andre Johnson suffered a concussion during the Texans’ 27-13 victory at Jacksonville on Sunday. After receiving a helmet-to-helmet blow, Johnson left the field and did not return to action.

Texans coach Bill O’Brien said Monday that Johnson will be evaluated as the team prepares for a critical AFC South matchup at Indianapolis.

“He has to pass the concussion test to be able to be cleared,” O’Brien said at NRG Stadium. “I would say that’s definitely a day-to-day thing.”

Johnson, 33, has suffered two concussions since the start of the 2013 season. He leads the Texans in receptions (69) and tied DeAndre Hopkins for a team-high four catches against the Jaguars.

Johnson’s yardage totals have been off this season, though. He’s yet to record a 100-yard game and has averaged just 40.2 yards during his last six contests. If Johnson plays against the Colts, he must average 87.6 yards in the Texans’ last three regular-season games to reach 1,000 yards this year. The 12th-year pro has recorded at least 1,216 yards in five of the last six seasons. The only time he reach the total was in 2011, when he was limited to seven games due to injury.

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Andre Johnson’s day ends short of tying NFL mark

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Andre Johnson needed eight catches to reach 1,000 for his career and tie Marvin Harrison as the fastest in NFL history to reach the mark.

Johnson collected a co-team high four balls for 17 yards Sunday during the Texans’ 27-13 against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field.

Then the veteran wide receiver’s day suddenly ended.

Johnson dropped a throw from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick after receiving a helmet-to-helmet hit from Telvin Smith with 12 minutes, 41 seconds left in the second quarter. The Jacksonville linebacker was flagged for a personal foul and the Texans soon scored a touchdown via a four-yard Fitzpatrick keeper around the right end. But Johnson was forced to leave the game due to a concussion and never returned. He was surrounded by his teammates for an extended period after the hit and will have to pass the NFL’s concussion protocol to be available next Sunday at Indianapolis in a critical AFC South matchup.

“That was scary, man,” Texans running back Arian Foster said. “The refs were trying to (back us up) and I’m like, ‘Naw, that’s my guy.’ But it’s always scary. You saw what he means to this team when everybody crowded around him – coach is out there, trainer, everybody’s worried about him. I talked to him. He said he’ll be all right.”

Johnson still moved deeper into the NFL’s record book. He passed Torry Holt for 12th all-time in receiving yards (13,398) and extended his franchise record of 167 games played.

“He’s a tough guy. A very tough individual,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said.

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Andre Johnson’s goal: 15 seasons, all in Texans uniform

Last offseason, veteran wide receiver Andre Johnson wasn’t sure if the Texans were still the team for him.

With four regular-season games remaining in the 2014 season, Johnson said Thursday he wants to retire as a Texan. He also outlined the end of his career path for the first time.

“I always want things to work out here. I’ve always wanted that,” Johnson said at NRG Stadium. “I don’t want to play for nobody else. I have been here for 12 years. I don’t even think it would feel right.

“I have seen everybody come into this locker room and leave out. Trainers, … stars, coaches — I have seen it all. (My) locker has been here the longest. I couldn’t imagine how it would feel to put on another uniform, so hopefully I’ll be able to be here.”

Johnson also knows the exact amount of years he wants to play in the NFL before turning in No. 80: 15.

Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice lasted 20 years. With Johnson approaching 1,000 career catches – he needs just eight more and can reach the mark Sunday at Jacksonville – the soft-spoken wideout was in a contemplative mood Thursday, saying he could never imagine being a pro as long as Rice.

“I only wanted to play 10 years,” Johnson said. “You know, football careers are very short. You never know how things are going to go, as far as injuries and stuff like that. I would have never thought I would be mentioned up in those categories. To be in the top in receptions and yardage, I would have never thought I would be in this position.”

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Andre Johnson pays for $16K Toys R Us spree for local kids in protective services

Even though the Houston Texans had the day off, wide receiver Andre Johnson was busy making holiday wishes come true.

On Tuesday, Johnson visited a Toys "R" Us near NRG Stadium and greeted 11 children in the care of the Harris County Department of Family Protective Services. The deal: The kids, ages 8-16, had 80 seconds to fill a shopping cart with whatever their hearts desired and Johnson would foot the bill, the Houston Chronicle reports.

The shopping spree has become a tradition of sorts for Johnson, as he has hosted one each year since 2007, ESPN says.

After the kids gathered all that they could, with the help of Texans cheerleaders, they lined up at the registers with stuffed animals, playsets, "Frozen" dolls and WWE toys, the Houston Chronicle says.

While the several toys were being rung up, Johnson took photos with bystanders and the kids. All was going smoothly, and then Johnson realized he left his wallet in the car, the Houston Chronicle retells.

After retrieving his credit card, Johnson went from register to register, swiping and signing. One register reached $3,338.01 and kept running, the Houston Chronicle says.

The final bill was a grand total of $16,266.26.

Johnson's Foundation, the Andre Johnson Charitable Foundation, funded the spree, Yahoo! Sports reports. Though the foundation holds many charitable events for children, Johnson says the Toys "R" Us event is his favorite.

"I think it's probably the best one because you get to see the kids really enjoy it," Johnson says. "That's what this season is about. It's something I look forward to. The kids are happy, they get what they want for Christmas, and that's all that matters."

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Andre Johnson earning place among the greatest receivers to play football

On Sunday, Andre Johnson caught his 982nd NFL pass, lifting him to 10th all-time in career receptions.

In doing so, he tied Randy Moss on the list and will, barring injury, move ahead of him this weekend. He's 18 catches behind Hines Ward, who is ninth, and 42 catches behind Isaac Bruce in eighth.

After the game in Cleveland, Johnson showed his typical deference for those who have come before him.

"I used to wear the clown socks like he wore in college," Johnson said. "It's a tremendous honor."

The thing is, this happens often. Now in this 12th NFL season, Johnson has been eclipsing some of the greatest receivers of all time or at least matching their accomplishments with regularity.

"You never think about stuff like that," Johnson said. "When you come in, you just want to be a good player, play to the best of your ability. To be on the all-time list, that’s big. Like I said, I think it’ll all sink in the day that you hang them cleats up, you look back over your career and see what you’ve been able to accomplish."

He's interacted with a lot of those great receivers over time and received their praise either directly or indirectly. Earlier this season, Jerry Rice heaped praise upon Johnson -- that's special because Rice is the reason Johnson wears the number 80.

"Most of the time when you see them, they talk to you about what you’re doing on the field," Johnson said. "... It’s surprising because you never really know that those guys pay attention to you. A lot of them just tell me they love the way I play, the way I carry myself and approach the games. It’s just big to hear that from people who you’ve looked up to or watched growing up."

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Andre Johnson moves into top 10 of NFL’s all-time receptions list

CLEVELAND – Andre Johnson issued several no comments after the Texans’ Week 9 home loss to Philadelphia.

The veteran wide receiver benefited from an open week and new starting quarterback Ryan Mallett. Johnson was a key part of the offense, catching a team-high seven balls for 68 yards, including a critical fourth-down reception.

“Oh, man. Oh, man,” said Mallett, referring to the difficulty of Johnson’s catch.

Moss tied Randy Moss for 10th on the all-time receptions list with 982.

“Andre Johnson, that guy wants to win,” coach Bill O’Brien said. “That’s what he wants to do.”

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Andre Johnson steady in Sunday victory

Texans standout wideout Andre Johnson proved steady and productive in the Week 11 defeat of the host Browns.

Johnson finished with a season-high seven catches for 68 yards going mostly head-to-head against Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden. Included was a 16-yarder on the team's second possession to earn a first down.

His next game is set for Week 12 against the visiting Bengals.

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Andre Johnson Supports Both Texans QB's

Houston Texans receiver Andre Johnson has come out and said he supports both Texans’ quarterbacks Ryan Mallett and Ryan Fitzpatrick.  Coach Bill O’Brien this week named Mallett as the starter over Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick has been the starter for the first nine games, going 4-5.  He has 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions.  However after a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, O’Brien had figured it was time for a change during the Texans bye week.

Andre Johnson though said per the Houston Chronicle that he thinks highly of both quarterbacks.

I support both of them. Both of them are my teammates.  Whoever’s out there, Mallett or Fitz, I’ll give it my best to get open.  I feel comfortable with both guys.
What else do you expect the guy to say?  Sure his numbers are down.  He has 48 receptions for 563 yards but just one touchdown through the first nine games this season.  Last season through the first nine games, Johnson had 62 receptions for 698 yards and five touchdowns, although the five touchdowns came in the eighth and ninth games.

Johnson though is going to play it close to the vest.  He certainly doesn’t want to alienate either quarterback since there is always the chance that the Texans could go back to Fitzpatrick if Mallett shows he can’t get the job done.

Johnson is getting the targets.  He’s been targeted 82 times.  Its not like Fitzpatrick wasn’t looking for him.  So I guess we’ll find out if Fitzpatrick was the big problem and Mallett’s the answer here quickly.

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Eagles’ CB Williams says Texans’ Andre Johnson ‘not the same guy

Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Cary Williams noticed a different Andre Johnson on Sunday, according to SportsRadio 610.

“He’s not the same guy,” Williams said. “Not the same guy.”

Johnson caught just two passes for 12 yards during a 31-21 defeat to the Eagles. He became visibly upset early during the contest, pulling his helmet off, then speaking with coaches after the play and pointing toward the field.

Johnson had no comment postgame when asked if he was surprised he wasn’t getting the ball more often.

The veteran wide receiver held out this offseason before rejoining the Texans for training camp.

“I don’t know if he’s happy,” Williams said. “I’m not sure. I know he had some disputes before the season in a couple years now. But I know Andre Johnson. I know what he’s done over his career. Just the attitude. It just wasn’t the same. He’s a great player. I’m not sure if he was happy or anything like that. But I know that was a different Andre than I know.”

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Cary Williams says 'Andre Johnson is best wide receiver I've ever faced'

PHILADELPHIA — After allowing Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald to account for 160 yards and a touchdown Sunday, things won't get any easier for the Eagles secondary this week against wide receiver Andre Johnson and the Houston Texans.

Eagles cornerback Cary Williams Wednesday called Johnson the best receiver he's faced in his six-year career.

"He can do it all," Williams said. "He has great body control. In my opinion I thought he was the best guy I faced ever. Just because of his ability to catch the ball, run routes, the ability to separate after catching the ball.

"In the run front, whether it's a run or a pass play he gives the same effort. He's not a guy that tails off in the run game. He plays for four quarters. He does it quietly. He's not a guy that's going to talk trash. He'll just get his 100-yards at times and just be quiet as heck."

Johnson, 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, has seen his production diminish this season. Through eight games the 12-year veteran has caught 46 passes for 551 yards and one touchdown.

Still, Williams says he doesn't expect this matchup against Johnson to be any different from the previous three meetings between the two while he was a member of the Baltimore Ravens.

"I think he still can [compete at an elite level]," Williams said. "I don't really know what's going on in Houston. The last couple years they seem to be going through some issues with the team or the organization, I'm not real sure. I still think [Johnson] is an elite talent. Just like I said Larry [Fitzgerald] was, and he went out and proved it with what he did last week."

In the three games that Johnson faced Williams, Johnson for the most part had the upper-hand hauling in 27 receptions for 237 yards and two touchdowns.

After a late coverage breakdown cost the Eagles Sunday in a 24-20 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, Williams may need to come up big against Johnson to avoid a second consecutive loss.

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Andre Johnson now 13th on all-time yds list

Andre Johnson continued his march through the NFL record books on Sunday, and is now in 13th place for all-time receiving yards.

A fourth quarter catch for 10 yards pushed Johnson past Andre Reed, who finished his Hall of Fame career with 13,198 yards. Johnson began the day 42 yards shy of Reed.

He passed Steve Largent on the list Monday verus the Steelers.

Johnson also eclipsed the 500-yard mark for the season, and caught a pass in his 126 consecutive game.

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Andre Johnson has seven catches in Week 8 win

Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson tied a season-high with seven catches during a 30-16 win Week 8 at Tennessee. He finished with 55 receiving yards, was targeted a team-high 12 times and his longest catch went 13 yards.

Johnson still doesn't have a 100-yard game this season and has just one touchdown in eight games. The Texans are back in action Week 9 vs. Philadelphia.

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Andre Johnson Still A Must-Start in Fantasy

Andre Johnson was the less productive of the Texans wide receivers Week 7 at Pittsburgh, but he still tied for the team lead with nine targets and caught five passes for 77 yards. Only once this year has another Texan gotten more targets than him in a game, and it was Arian Foster, not DeAndre Hopkins.

That's an ideal role for a wide receiver in Fantasy, and though it's led to only one touchdown for Johnson this season, he's too promising from week to week for you to consider sitting him. He's 12th in receiving yards, for crying out loud.

So why do Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard rank him 24th and 32nd, respectively, at wide receiver for Week 8 at Tennessee? You got me. If it was the Lions, I could understand, but the Titans rank 21st against the pass, allowing 247.9 yards per game.

I'm sticking to my guns on this one. Johnson is a must-start in Fantasy.

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Andre Johnson salvages night with big fourth quarter

Texans receiver Andre Johnson had one 4-yard reception through three quarters Monday night at Pittsburgh. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick finally looked Johnson's way in the fourth quarter, and the 33-year-old wideout finished with five catches for 77 yards.

In the process, Johnson moved past Steve Largent for 14th place in career receiving yards. Johnson has 14,057 receiving yards.

Johnson shared the team lead with nine targets, his average this season. He'll visit the Titans in Week 8.

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Texans simply need a win on MNF, Andre Johnson says

The Texans are four days away from playing their final primetime regular-season game this season.

With the national lights of “Monday Night Football” and the Pittsburgh Steelers waiting, Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson said his team simply needs a victory.

The Texans started 2-0 but are 1-3 during their last four games, including back-to-back near wins that ended in defeat.

“We just need to get a win,” Johnson said Thursday at NRG Stadium.

He added: “We’re not in a bad spot. Of course, we would like to be in a better situation — we feel like we’ve let some games get away.”

The Texans only have two primetime games this season. After recently falling to Indianapolis on “Thursday Night Football,” Monday at Pittsburgh is the final scheduled national showcase for the 2014 Texans.

“Everybody’s watching. It’s the only game on TV,” Johnson said. “A great big stage for us and hopefully we’ll go out there and put our best game on Monday night.”

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Andre Johnson had no idea what lady was doing when he jumped in stands

HOUSTON -- Throughout Andre Johnson's career, the Houston Texans haven't often thrown touchdown passes to the greatest receiver they've ever had. But When Johnson scores a touchdown in Houston his usual ritual is to leap into the stands and share the moment with delighted fans.

Something strange happened when he did that on Thursday night against the Indianapolis Colts. So strange it's gone viral.

"I got a lot of text messages about that," Johnson said.

Most of the texts included a photo of a woman wearing a J.J. Watt jersey slapping Johnson's bottom.

He had no idea at the time.

"No, when that happens you don't realize what's going on," Johnson said. "Everybody's hitting you. They don't even want to let you go. When I saw the picture I couldn't do nothing but laugh."

It's true those moments are relatively rare for Johnson. This is his 12th season with the Texans and he's only caught 62 touchdown passes, ranking 64th all-time among receivers. By contrast, Johnson's 13,080 yards ranks 15th all time among receivers. On Thursday, he became the second fastest player to reach 13,000 yards, and only Jerry Rice, the player in whose honor Johnson wears No. 80, did it faster.

Thirty-six of Johnson's 62 touchdown catches have been at home, giving him an average of three chances per year to leap into the crowd behind the end zone. Thursday's was his first touchdown of the season, so when he does it again, is he going to think twice about his usual celebration?

Johnson chuckled about the whole thing.

"I wouldn't let one person spoil it for everybody," he said.

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GIF: Andre Johnson Scores Miracle TD, Female Fan Spanks Him

Every time that it looks like Andre Johnson is getting too old and beat up to make miraculously athletic touchdown catches, he makes a miraculously athletic touchdown catch to prove the haters wrong.

That should have been a pick. That had to be a pick. 99 times out of 100 that is a pick. Only two receivers in the game can prevent that from being a pick. (They have the same last name.)

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Andre Johnson reaches another receiving milestone

HOUSTON – Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson has added another line to his career resume becoming the latest receiver to surpass 13,000 yards.

Johnson reached the mark on a screen pass in the 2nd quarter. He is the second fastest to reach that mark only Jerry Rice got to that milestone quicker.

The Texans wide receiver is 15th on the all-time list for receiving yards in a career. The next person in front of him is Steve Largent who had 13,089.

Last week, Johnson became the second fastest player in NFL history to surpass 950 receptions for a career.

Johnson finished the game with 7 catches for 99 yards and a touchdown.

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Andre Johnson snags 62nd TD to end 12-game drought

Andre Johnson’s 4-yard touchdown catch early in the second quarter ended the longest scoring drought of his career at 12 games. He had last made a reception in the end zone against the Cardinals in Arizona on November 10, 2013. He hadn’t scored at home since catching three of Case Keenum’s passes for touchdowns against the Colts a week earlier.

Johnson’s 62 career touchdown passes rank him 68th all time, which is out of sync with his standing in receptions. Johnson is 11th overall with 957. But the nine retired players ahead of him all scored at least 85 touchdowns and the Colts’ Reggie Wayne has 81 despite playing just one more season than Johnson has.

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2000 Miami Hurricanes squad to have mini-reunion at NRG Stadium on Thursday

At the end of ESPN's 30 for 30 film 'The U', a group of Miami Hurricanes players sum up their program's successful history and culture in one sentence.

"It's a Canes thing."

On Thursday night at NRG Stadium, 'The U' squad of 2000 will be well represented, as several former players and coaches will converge as the Texans host the Colts.

Undoubtedly, the most recognizable names are a pair of former Hurricane receivers Andre Johnson and Reggie Wayne. Johnson and Wayne are two of the most accomplished wide outs in NFL history and are quite used to sharing the same turf on a football field.

In addition to their years battling against each other in the AFC South, the two were teammates on the 2000 Miami squad that went 11-1 and finished second in the nation according to the AP poll. Wayne, a senior on that squad, caught a team-high 10 touchdowns. Johnson, a redshirt freshman, played in 11 games as a wide receiver and kickoff return specialist (imagine that!).

The connections don't stop there. On the Colts sideline watching it all unfold on Thursday will be head coach Chuck Pagano, who was the Hurricans defensive backs coach on that same 2000 squad.

Imagine how fun his job must have been in practice, going against Wayne and Johnson (and Santana Moss) every day. 2000 was Pagano's last year at Miami, as he advanced to the professional ranks en route to being named the Colts head man in 2012. Pagano talked at length about Johnson and Wayne in a press conference earlier this week.

"I was fortunate to be at the right place at the right time and recruiting that school and recruiting Andre. Very, very; I mean we all know his talents. He’s a great player, but he’s a better person," Pagano said. "The relationships are for life. I’m fortunate enough to be coaching and playing alongside Reggie Wayne here, but being able to stay close to the guys you were around in college and guys like Andre is very special to me and my family."

Not done yet.

On the same 2000 squad, there was a relatively unknown redshirt freshman center. That center would go on to have a strong collegiate career and be selected in the sixth round of the 2005 NFL Draft. Nine years later, he has started over 100 straight games for the Houston Texans, and is now viewed as one the NFL's top centers.

Chris Myers.

If all those connections weren't enough, there is one more that Texans fans will know all too well. During the great Miami run of the late 1990s and early 2000s, the voice of the Hurricanes was...Marc Vandermeer.

Vandermeer (@TexansVoice on twitter), who has been the voice of the Texans since the franchise's inception, spent several years in Miami calling Hurricane athletics for their radio network.

So, while there will be Deep Steel Blue and Colts white on the field at NRG Stadium, there will be a lot of Miami green and orange in the heart of many. 

Rock and Roll indeed.

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Andre Johnson misses practice but is expected to play Thursday

Texans receiver Andre Johnson (ankle) missed practice Tuesday in advance of Thursday's game against the Colts. Houston coach Bill O'Brien predicted Johnson will suit up against Indy, reports the Houston Chronicle.

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Andre Johnson misses Monday walkthrough

Texans receiver Andre Johnson (ankle) did not participate in Monday's walkthrough ahead of Thursday's game against the Colts. He has 27 catches for 320 yards and no touchdowns this season.

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Andre Johnson makes NFL history again

Johnson reached 950 career receptions with his first completion against the Dallas Cowboys. Fitzpatrick’s 11-yard pass to Johnson made him the second-fastest player to reach 950 in his 159th game. Johnson is second behind just Marvin Harrison, who did so in 158 games.

Three catches later, Johnson also became the 11th all-time NFL leader on the career receptions list with 952, passing Andre Reed.

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Andre Johnson limited in practice Thursday

After missing Wednesday's session due to an ankle injury, Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson returned to practice as a limited participant on Thursday, per ESPN. Johnson has been nursing an ankle injury since the start of the season and has yet to miss a game.

The Texans have an in-state showdown against the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in Week 5.

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Andre Johnson climbs NFL charts again

With his first catch of the game, Andre Johnson made NFL history again.

Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a 13-yard completion to Johnson on the first offensive play against the Buffalo Bills. The catch moved Johnson up to 12th place for most receptions in NFL history (944), surpassing Derrick Mason. Johnson was previously tied with Mason on the all-time list.

The Texans All-Pro wide receiver has also recorded a catch in  122 consecutive games.

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Andre Johnson not concerned with missing out on milestone

Andre Johnson finished one reception away. Well, sort of.

The veteran Texans wide receiver briefly tied longtime Indianapolis wideout Marvin Harrison as the fastest player in NFL history to reach 950 career catches.
But Johnson’s 950th reception – a five-yard catch with 1 minute, 53 seconds left in the third quarter – was erased due to a pass-interference penalty on left tackle Duane Brown.

Johnson finished the Texans’ 23-17 victory against the Buffalo Bills with a team-high 71 yards on six catches (seven targets), falling one short of Harrison’s mark.

“If it was meant to happen (Sunday), it would have happened. … Just to be mentioned with that group of wide receivers is a humbling experience,” Johnson said at NRG Stadium. “You’ll never understand it or really realize what you’re able to accomplish until you’re finished playing a game. I think that’s when I really look back on it.”

The lifetime Texan briefly left the game but returned during the fourth quarter.

“I’m fine. I think I was more scared than anything,” Johnson said. “I went on the sideline, got it checked and everything is fine. … They taped it back up and I was back out there.”

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Andre Johnson nears another receiving milestone

Receiver Andre Johnson has a chance to make history against Buffalo on Sunday.

If Johnson catches seven passes, he’ll tie Marvin Harrison as the fastest receivers in history to reach 950 catches.

Harrison did it in 158 games, and Johnson can match him.

“You have to keep everything in perspective, and right now, everybody’s focused on winning because that’s the important thing,” Johnson said on Thursday. “If I was able to do that, it would be humbling and a tremendous honor.”

Johnson used to watch Harrison twice a year when the Texans played Indianapolis in the AFC South.

“I got to see him a lot, and he’s one of the best to ever do it,” Johnson said. “He and Peyton (Manning) were always on the same page. It was something great to see.”

The Texans’ objective is to beat the Bills, of course, but coach Bill O’Brien admitted he’s aware of how many catches Johnson needs to make history.

“You’re doing what you have to do to win the game,” said O’Brien, who calls the plays. “(But) if he can get catches that help him set records – we’re not all about records – but I feel strongly about Andre and what he means to our organization and to this team.

“He’s a big part of every game plan, anyway, so, hopefully, he’s able to get that record. If we’re in the fourth quarter and he has six catches, we’d certainly like to get him a catch. That’s for sure.”

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Andre Johnson: "Almost feels like I'm back in college"

This year feels different for Andre Johnson, both on and off the field.

Now in his twelfth season, the seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver contemplated walking away from the game completely after last season's 2-14 finish. A new head coach, a new quarterback, a new system – what would it be like starting all over again at this point in his career?

“It’s different, it’s definitely different,” Johnson said on Texans Radio. “Being around here, back around the team, it almost feels like I’m back in college. Football is fun. You’re enjoying it, the coaches making things fun, they’re not just walking around with a sad face and not interacting with the players. Coach (Bill) O’Brien walks in the locker room and cracks jokes with the guys and stuff like that. When you have stuff like that going on with the team, it makes you want to do a lot for your coach. It lets you know that he has your back. It keeps everybody loose.”

Johnson has since said he’s glad he returned. In fact, he wishes he had come back sooner. That’s how much he has enjoyed these past few months. Plus, he had to study hard with less time to learn the playbook and the new offense installed by O’Brien.

“It’s a challenge,” Johnson said. “It’s probably the most I’ve studied in a long time as far as just trying to pick something up really quick. I know I had to play catch up coming in here and they told me they were going to move me around a lot. I know I had to learn all the positions as far as playing wide receiver. I was able to pick it up pretty fast. I spent a lot of time just looking at the different route combinations and stuff like that, just trying to learn the different concepts. I think once I learned the different concepts that helped me out more. No matter where I line up, if you know the concept then you know what you got.”

Through two games, Johnson leads the Texans receivers with 167 yards, averaging 13.9 yards per catch.

Each week, Johnson continues to climb the all-time yards receiving list, surpassing Irving Fryar to move into 15th place with his performance at Oakland. He also currently ranks 14th with the most receptions in NFL history with 939 catches.

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Andre Johnson Moves into 15th Place on All-Time Receiving Yardage List

Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson used a six-catch, 74-yard performance against the Oakland Raiders to move past Irving Fryar for 15th place on the NFL's all-time receiving yardage list, per CSN Houston's James Palmer.

Johnson had an efficient afternoon in the Texans' 30-14 blowout victory, hauling in six of his seven targets from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. The longest gain came on Johnson's final reception of the day, a 20-yard run-and-catch on a screen pass in the third quarter.

Though he's yet to reach the end zone this season, Johnson is off to a promising start under new head coach Bill O'Brien, having accounted for 12 of the team's 28 receptions through two games. The lack of team-wide volume is due to the fact that Fitzpatrick has attempted just 41 passes, the fewest for any NFL quarterback that has started and played through both of his team's games.

Now 15th on the all-time receiving yardage list with 12,828, Johnson figures to climb much higher by the end of the season. Things are bunched pretty close, with the exception of all-time leader Jerry Rice, whose 22,895 career receiving yards are far beyond the 15,934 of second-place Terrell Owens.

Johnson will likely pass Steve Largent (13,089) and Andre Reed (13,189) by midseason, and the 33-year-old Texan also figures to eclipse 12th-place Torry Holt (13,382) by the end of the year.

Heading into Monday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Reggie Wayne of the Indianapolis Colts sits in 11th place with 13,664 yards.

While Johnson is unlikely to pass Wayne this year, 10th-place Henry Ellard (13,777) and ninth-place Cris Carter (13,899) are well within reach. If Johnson really has a big season, he could even pass eighth-place James Lofton (14,004).

With both Wayne and Johnson appearing to have a few good years of football left, the two could eventually settle into second and third places on the all-time list. The 35-year-old Wayne needs just 2,271 more receiving yards to pass second-place Owens, while Johnson needs 3,107.

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How Andre Johnson helps offensive chemistry

HOUSTON -- When Texans' quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick called receiver Andre Johnson a "quarterback-friendly" receiver, it meant more than just the fact that Johnson is an elite talent.

It's the little things Johnson does that really help his connection with Fitzpatrick. The body language through which he can communicate with his quarterback, his precision on routes so Fitzpatrick always knows where he's going to be and his intelligence in the offense.

"Andre is an easy receiver to throw to, to get on the same page with just because he’s played so much football," Fitzpatrick said. "I think there is not a whole lot that surprises him in terms of coverages and things that he’s gone against."

Johnson had six receptions on Sunday, all of them for first downs.

"It’s also the communication between not only coach-to-player but player-to-coach and player-to-player that makes Andre such a good player because when he comes off the field, he tells you exactly what he saw," quarterbacks coach George Godsey said. "It’s exactly what’s on the tape when you watch it the next day. You’re able to make adjustments from a coaching standpoint. You’re able to see the coverage when you were looking somewhere else and really take that for the next possession."

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Andre Johnson Looking Forward To Reunion With Raiders Derek Carr

Andre Johnson saw it from the time Derek Carr was just a kid, hanging around the office with his big brother.

Confidence. Oodles of it.

“The one thing you noticed about him, he had great confidence,” Johnson said on Wednesday. “When I used to come out the locker room sometimes, he’d be sitting right there in the hallway. He was always telling me he was going to go to Miami and be a quarterbackicon1 at the U.”

Things didn’t go exactly according to plan for Derek, the younger brother of former Houston Texans No. 1 overall pick, David Carr.

But a few details aside — like playing his college ball at Fresno State — Derek still ended up where he said he would: in the NFL.

When the Texans on Sunday face the Oakland Raiders, who took Derek 36th overall in April, Derek will be under center, starting against the team whose facilities he used to frequent as a 12-year-old with wide eyes and a healthy bravado.

“Yeah, it just shows you how old I’m getting,” said Johnson, now 33 years old, 11 years after he first met Carr.

Johnson and Derek had a close relationship back then. Johnson even went to Derek’s middle school games in Sugar Land, Texas, where Derek played until moving to Bakersfield, Calif., for his senior year of high school.

“He was here, during practice sometimes, and I always saw him after every gameicon1,” Johnson said. “He was always sitting right outside the door. Every time I came out, he was right there, he and a couple of his friends. We used to talk a lot. It’ll be good to see him”

Though the two have lost touch since then, with Johnson neither having seen nor spoken to Derek since Derek headed west, Johnson said he’s very much looking forward to catching up with Derek in Oakland.

“I just can’t wait to get a chance to talk to him,” Johnson said.

“Just to ask him about the experience. How was it. Stuff like that. Just to ask him about the family. Used to play golf with his dad and stuff like that. Me, him and David and stuff. They were a real cool family and good people to be around.”

Johnson isn’t the only one excited about it.

“It’ll be pretty cool,” Derek said on a conference call on Wednesday.

“Especially being able to see Andre again. I think that’ll be pretty cool. I haven’t seen him since I was obviously a little kid. But I remember him coming to my junior high games, now we’ll be playing against each other. It’ll be awesome.”

Derek looked sharp last week in his NFL debut, a loss to the New York Jets. Facing Rex Ryan’s fiesty defense, the 23-year-old had 151 yards and 2 touchdowns on 20 of 32 passing for a 94.7 quarterback rating.

This weekend, he’ll face a Texans defense whose six points allowed in last week’s win over Washington was tied for the fewest in football. They also pressured quarterback Robert Griffin III on 53.7 percent of his dropbacks, per to Pro Football Focus, most in the NFL.

“It’ll be cool,” Derek said. “I have nothing but love for Houston and Mr. McNair. He’s first class, and so is that city. I loved my time there, that’s where I grew up. I still hold it near and dear to my heart.”

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#NFLU Week 1 proCane Wrap Up

Every Tuesday we will wrap up the all the action from the previous week’s NFL action.

The Streak: Four proCanes scored (Allen Hurns (2 TDs), Greg Olsen (1 TD), Travis Benjamin (1 TD), Lamar Miller (1 TD)) to extend the TD Streak to 7 straight weeks a proCane has scored an NFL touchdown. As reminder the record is 149 straight weeks.

Allen Hurns, Jaguars: Hurns caught four passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns. He became the first undrafted rookie to catch two touchdowns in his first game since the New York Giants’ Bobby Johnson in 1984. Two catches, two touchdowns, Hurns became the second NFL rookie to ever do that, joining Detroit’s Charles Rogers. Hurns also ended up playing the 2nd most amount of snaps among WRs behind Antonio Brown. Hurns has out-produced both receivers the Jaguars selected in the second round of the NFL draft in May. Not bad for an undrafted rookie

Andre Johnson, Texans: Johnson moved past Redskins legend Art Monk into 16th place in NFL history in receiving yards. Johnson, who hauled in six passes for 93 yards, has 12,754 yards in his 12 professional seasons.

Frank Gore, 49ers : Gore just the 29th running back in NFL history to reach the 10,000-yard mark, and just the 10th to eclipse the milestone with one franchise. With a four-yard run in the third quarter, Gore became one of just three active running backs in the 10,000-yard club. He is also just the second #proCane to do it; Edgerrin James ranks 10th all-time with 12,279 yards.

Devin Hester, Falcons: The Falcons promised to use Hester also as a WR this season, and so far they have fulfilled that promise. Hester caught 5-of-6 targets for 99 yards in the Falcons' Week 1 win over the Saints.

Seantrel Henderson, Bills: Henderson, who was drafted in seventh round of the year’s NFL Draft started his first NFL game in week 1 beating out 2nd round Bills draft pick Cyrus Kouandjo.

Greg Olsen: 8 catches, 83 yards, 1 TD
Allen Bailey: 2 tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL
Reggie Wayne: Back from injury: 9 catches, 98 yards
Vince Wilfork: Back from injury: 2 tackles

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Andre Johnson marches on career yds list

As he's done so many times before, Andre Johnson had 90 or more receiving yards in a game, and he continued his climb up the all-time list.

The longest-tenured Texan caught six passes for 93 yards in the victory over Washington, and in the process, moved past Hall of Famer Art Monk into 16th place on the all-time yardage list. Monk had 12,721 career receiving yards, and Johnson now has 12,754.

“When I came into this game, I never thought about being even in that category," Johnson said. "Coming in as a kid, you always say that you want to be the best, but you just want to come out and play football."

Johnson missed OTAs and minicamp during the spring, so he was a bit behind when he rejoined the team at the start of training camp. He showed no signs of rust on Sunday, however, as he led the team in both yards and catches. The victory, however, was the sweetest part of the day.

“It feels good just to win a game," Johnson said. "I knew when I came in I had a lot to learn. I had to play catch up, so I did it. I wanted to make sure I was ready to go opening day.”

After the game, head coach Bill O'Brien singled out the Pro Bowler for praise, and described why.

"Andre Johnson is a guy who has put his heart and soul in to this organization and I’m happy for a guy like him and many others," O'Brien said.

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was asked about his chemistry with Johnson, but quickly gave the credit to the All Pro.

“I contribute the chemistry really to Andre being a great receiver," Fitzpatrick said. "He’s a quarterback’s dream in terms of being in the right spot at the right time."

Next up on the career yardage list is Irving Fryar, who's in 15th place with 12,785 yards. With 32 yards, Johnson will pass him.

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Redskins’ Secondary Well Aware Of Andre Johnson

The Washington Redskins’ secondary is well aware of the challenge that awaits Sunday when they open up their season against the Houston Texans, who feature seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson.

Johnson is coming off another monster season in 2013, when he played in all 16 games and caught 109 passes for 1,407 yards and five touchdowns.

This season will be Johnson’s first under rookie head coach Bill O’Brien, who said this week that quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will be his starter on Sunday over Ryan Mallett, who was recently acquired via trade from the New England Patriots.

“You’re talking about an All-Pro, Pro Bowl-caliber player who’s done it time and time again,” veteran Redskins safety Ryan Clarkicon-article-link said of Johnson. “So for us, it’s trying to see how he’ll be used in this new system, what kind of chemistry (he has) with whatever Ryan is playing quarterback — whichever one they figure to start — and understanding how we have to play him.”

Recent history shows how dangerous of a weapon Johnson can be against the Redskins.

In 2010, the Redskins were clinging to a 27-20 lead with 2:03 left in the game when then-Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, on fourth down, found Johnson 34 yards away in the FedExField end zone for the touchdown.

The Texans would tie the game on the extra-point attempt, and won it in overtime with a Neil Rackers 36-yard field goal.

Johnson finished that game with 12 receptions for 158 yards and that aforementioned touchdown.

He’s made a habit of providing moments just like those throughout his entire career, which has included 154 regular-season games, 927 receptions, 12,661 yards and 61 touchowns.

Over that span, Johnson has been named to seven Pro Bowls and been selected First Team All-Pro two times (in 2008 and 2009).

On Sunday, the Redskins will lean on veteran experience to try to neutralize Johnson. Duke Ihenacho — a safety who was claimed on waivers by the Redskins this week — started 17 games for the Denver Broncos a season ago, and said he got a up-close look at Johnson’s abilities when the Broncos and Texans held joint practices together.

“He’s been doing it for so long,” Ihenacho said. “He’s one of the greatest receivers of all time, and I had the opportunity to practice against him when I was in Denver, and you see how talented he is, and he’s still got it.”

The Redskins know stopping Johnson won’t be easy on Sunday, but they’re excited to be opening their season with a challenge.

“He has a bunch of touchdowns, bunch of catches, bunch of yards,” Ihenacho said. “He’s real physical, real fast, real smart and he goes about his business and is really consistent.”

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Ryan Fitzpatrick looks for Andre Johnson early, often

DENVER – For years, Matt Schaub’s go-to receiver and in-game security blanket was wide receiver Andre Johnson.

Ryan Fitzpatrick kept the Johnson connection in vogue Saturday, during the Texans’ preseason game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field.

With Johnson making his first start of the exhibition season and Fitzpatrick seeking his second consecutive strong outing, the Texans’ starting quarterback targeted No. 80 three times on the team’s opening offensive drive, connecting twice for 15 yards.

On the Texans’ second drive, Fitzpatrick threw high to Johnson on second down for an incompletion. Four of Fitzpatrick’s initial eight passes were intended for Johnson.

The veteran receiver missed the initial portion of training camp due to a hamstring strain. He had a strong week of practice against Denver, though, and was announced as being active about 90 minutes before kickoff.

Johnson returned for the Texans’ first scoring drive, pairing with receiver DeAndre Hopkins along the left side as the Texans took a 7-3 lead with 8 minutes, 23 seconds left in the second quarter.

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Andre Johnson shines in Texans-Broncos work

Andre Johnson is "showing no signs of rust" after missing a chunk of Texans camp with a hamstring injury.

Johnson reportedly showed up "all over the field" during Wednesday's Texans-Broncos joint practice and made one "incredible" catch in the back of the end zone. "He's a big part of what we're doing here," coach Bill O'Brien said. The No. 12 overall fantasy receiver a year ago, Johnson's ADP has dropped into the late fourth round. His QBs were Matt Schaub and Case Keenum in 2013.

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Andre Johnson doesn’t like the increase in penalties

The renewed emphasis on illegal contact and defensive holding penalties benefits NFL offenses.  That doesn’t mean all NFL offensive players appreciate the move.

Specifically, Texans receiver Andre Johnson doesn’t like the increased throwing of flags in the 2014 preseason.

“Watching the game last week against Atlanta, it kind of makes the game longer.” Johnson said Wednesday, via 610 Sports Radio in Houston.  “It actually makes you hate it a little bit because every time you look around there’s a flag on the ground.”

Johnson believes that the officials won’t call illegal contact and defensive holding as tightly once the regular season begins.  The NFL has said that the emphasis on illegal contact and defensive holding will continue.  We’ll begin to find out whether the NFL means what it says when the Packers travel to Seattle to start the 2014 regular season in only 15 days.

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Andre Johnson practices at full speed vs. Falcons

Receiver Andre Johnson and running back Arian Foster returned to practice against Atlanta today.

Johnson and Foster had been sidelined because of hamstring injuries.

Foster refused to speak with the media, but, as always, Johnson was polite and cooperative.

“Its good to be back out here with my teammates running around,” Johnson said. “I was able to do things full speed.”

Johnson worked full speed on Monday and Tuesday on an adjacent practice field and told the trainers he was ready to return to practice against the Falcons.

He didn’t participate in every drill.

“It was just being careful about the way they work me back in,” he said.

As far as playing against the Falcons on Saturday night, Johnson said, “I don’t know. That’s the coaches decision. We’ll see what happens.”

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Andre Johnson could return vs. Atlanta

HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans played without three offensive starters and two defensive starters in their preseason opener Saturday against the Arizona Cardinals.

They could get at least two of those players back next weekend against the Atlanta Falcons.

Texans coach Bill O'Brien said running back Arian Foster and receiver Andre Johnson have "a shot" to return for the team's second preseason game. Both have soft tissue injuries, Foster suffered injury on July 27 and Johnson on July 28. Foster returned for one day of practice since then, which means both have missed the same number of days while healing.

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Andre Johnson, On Learning Bill O’Brien’s Offense: “It’s Different, It’s A Challenge”

Andre Johnson’s holdout with the Houston Texans this offseason cost him all of OTAs, all of minicamps. On Sunday, the All-Pro wideout missed his fifth straight day of practice with a hamstring.

Not exactly conducive to learning his first offense since 2006, when former head coach Gary Kubiak arrived.

But after 11 NFL seasons, a body of work that has him primed for Hall of Fame consideration, the 33-year-old said he’s confident he’ll be able to pick up first-year head coach Bill O’Brien’s scheme. Fast.

“When you’ve been around the game for a while, you’ve seen a lot of things, you’ve seen a lot of offense” Johnson said. “So, it’s some of the same things, different names.”

Johnson, seven times a Pro Bowler since 2004, said that for him, getting down the verbiage is the hardest part. That includes familiarizing himself with O’Brien’s nomenclature — and forgetting Kubiak’s.

 “You just have to try to get that old stuff out of your head.” he said. “I was in the same offense for eight years. When you hear something in this offense, it’s like, OK, we had it last way this year, so I’ve got to think of this word.”

Johnson said that, physically, he’s unsure if he’ll be able to play when the Texans open the preseason against the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday night.
But despite being sidelined for more than half of training camp so far, and with no word on when he’ll return, Johnson said he’s been able to take plenty of mental reps from the sidelines and during the team’s afternoon walk-through sessions.

“It’s different,” he said. “It’s a challenge. At the same time, you just have to study it. I think that’s the biggest thing, you know, just studying it, staying on top of it.”
Johnson, whose 82.2 career receiving yards per game rank second all-time, reportedly received his playbook the week that training camp opened. He showed up for camp on veterans’ mandatory report date on July 25.

The Texans open the regular season against Washington on Sept. 7.

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Andre Johnson, On Playing Texans Preseason Opener: “I Would Hope To”

Andre Johnson doesn’t care what week it is and what opponent lies ahead. Preseason. Regular season.

He wants to play.

But after missing training camp practice with a hamstring for the fifth straight day on Sunday, the All-Pro wideout couldn’t commit to being ready for the Houston Texans preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday night.

“I mean, I would hope to (play),” Johnson said. “It doesn’t matter what game it is, you would want to play. But it’s best that I do what’s best for the team. If it’s me being out there than I will be out there, if it’s not then I won’t.”

Patience seems to be the approach head coach Bill O’Brien is taking with all player injuries in his first NFL training camp. Arian Foster also missed his fifth practice of camp on Sunday, and Jadeveon Clowney missed his second straight day. Jonathan Joseph, who’s coming off a season-ending toe injury, missed his first day of camp on Sunday after appearing to make it through Saturday’s session unscathed.

Johnson said he isn’t bothered by his injury.

“I”m feeling fine,” he said. “It’s a day-by-day process. That’s pretty much it.”

Johnson, 33, ranks second in the NFL in receiving yards over the last two seasons and has gone for 1,200 or more receiving yards every year since 2008. The only exception was 2011, when he missed nine games to hamstring injuries.

In Johnson’s absence, DeAndre Hopkins has stepped into the No. 1 wide receiver role, with DeVier Posey taking first-team reps opposite Hopkins and newcomer Mike Thomas working in the slot.

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Andre Johnson (Hamstring) Remains Sidelined

Johnson (hamstring) missed practice again on Sunday, reports.

Though Johnson has indicated that he would like to play in the Texans' preseason opener Saturday against the Cards, the report suggests that may not be the case, presumably as a precaution.

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O’Brien on Andre Johnson: “No need to rush him back”

Andre Johnson is “doing better,” according to head coach Bill O’Brien after missing Friday’s practice with a lingering injury. After tweaking his hamstring while flattening himself for a catch, All-Pro receiver has not practiced since Sunday.

“I think that is something he and I talk about every day,” O’Brien said. “I don’t think there is a need to rush him back. I think he needs to come back when he feels ready to be back. Again, that is not a serious injury, but it is not something that you need to rush him back.”

It hasn't prevented Johnson from the team's afternoon walk through practice, where players work on corrections from morning drills and get a first look at what to expect for the following day.

After missing OTAs, Johnson is working to get himself caught up with playbook and familiarize himself with the new offense. So far, the 12-year veteran has impressed O’Brien with ability to pick up the system quickly.

“The thing that I’ve noticed right away about Andre, which I knew this from our offseason conversations, is he is a very bright guy,” O’Brien said. “He’s already got a lot of the things down. In the afternoon walk through, we walk through a lot of things with him. Routes and adjustments and signals and things lioke that., It’s been my experience with guys of that caliber, being one of the top receivers in this league, they get there for a reason. They have talent, they have great ability, they’re really great teammates and they’re smart. You can see that right away from him.”

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Andre Johnson sits out

Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson (hamstring) did not participate in practice Wednesday, July 30. Head coach Bill O'Brien has said the team is being cautious with Johnson.

Fantasy Tip: Johnson has plenty of time to let his hamstring heal, so owners should not be worried about him at this point. Johnson should be considered a low-end No. 2 wide receiver in all leagues.

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Fitzpatrick on QB Friendly Andre Johnson

Andre Johnson had a lot of nice things to say about Ryan Fitzpatrick on Monday.

The quarterback returned the favor on Tuesday, explaining why Johnson is one of the greatest receivers in the NFL.

“He’s a very easy guy to throw to, not just because he’s a big target and he’s got great hands and all the athletic stuff, but he’s a very smart player," Fitzpatrick said.

Johnson didn't practice on Tuesday at training camp, after leaving Monday's practice early with an injury he described as "nothing serious". But through three days of work, it's clear to Fitzpatrick how Johnson at receiver is a luxury.

"He’s very quarterback friendly in terms of his body language, his knowledge of defense and running routes the way that we expect the receivers to run routes," Fitzpatrick said. "He’s got all that and that’s just not something you pick up overnight. It’s his whole body of work from his whole career.”

As a whole, Fitzpatrick is looking forward to the new offense the Texans will run with Johnson, running back Arian Foster and the rest of the receivers and tight ends.

“You got a lot of things to do and think about at the line but if you can get it down as a quarterback, the weapons that we have here with the mismatches we create and the exciting players that we have, it’s gonna be a lot of fun to be a quarterback in this offense," Fitzpatrick said.

He and the Texans will practice on Wednesday morning, with a walkthrough in the afternoon. On Thursday they'll get the first day off of training camp.

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Andre Johnson dealing with minor injury

It took just three days for injuries to limit the Texans’ offense.

Veteran wide receiver Andre Johnson tweaked his right hamstring Monday during practice, while star running back Arian Foster was held out of action.
Coach Bill O’Brien said both injuries were minor.

The team has not revealed what is affecting Foster, who has not spoken with the media since offseason workouts began and again denied an interview request Monday.

“Those guys have played a lot of football,” O’Brien said at NRG Stadium. “We’ll make sure we do a good job of managing them through the season.”

Foster exited practice early Sunday and didn’t take the field Monday, during a workout that saw the Texans wear pads and at times engage in full contact.

“He’s dealing with something,” O’Brien said. “He’ll be fine. He’ll be back. It’s a minor deal. You know, it’s a long season. He’ll be out there.”

Johnson was injured while making a catch down the middle of the field. He didn’t apply ice after the tweak and said he isn’t concerned. However, Johnson acknowledged he’ll have his hamstring examined as a precautionary measure.

“I don’t know (if I will be limited). We’ll see what happens,” Johnson said. “Like I said, it’s nothing that I’m seriously (worried about). Anytime you get a knick or anything, you know, you worry about it.”

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Andre Johnson: O'Brien plans to 'move me around a lot'

Earlier this offseason, Texans running back Arian Foster said Andre Johnson "is Houston."

Fans turned the statement into sound Saturday when they loudly rejoiced after a simple screen pass went to the veteran receiver at the Texans' first training camp practice.

After skipping previous offseason work, Johnson is catching up on Bill O'Brien's offense.

"I think it's just gonna be fun for me, me picking up the things I need to pick up, him telling me that he's gonna move me around a lot and stuff like that," Johnson told NFL Media's Desmond Purnell. "So it's going to be interesting to see because I really wasn't moved a whole lot before, so I just got to, day-by-day, just progressively get better and make sure that I'm on top of everything ... "

Johnson also added that the Texans needed someone like the loud, blunt O'Brien to shake up the team.

Moving Johnson around to create mismatches in the offense should aid the receiver's production and that of second-year receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

Even with a shaky quarterback situation last season, Johnson was still one of the most productive pass catchers in the NFL (109 receptions, 1,407 yards).
There is no reason to think he can't produce similar results under O'Brien with Ryan Fitzpatrick as his quarterback.

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Andre Johnson picking up install well

All is forgiven between fans and Andre Johnson, if there ever was any animosity there for Johnson's offseason holdout.

The ones at training camp embraced Johnson's return as he sauntered onto the field this morning. It was Johnson's first time catching passes from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, his first time operating within the Texans' new offense under Bill O'Brien. The very first pass in 11-on-11 drills was a bullet from Fitzpatrick to Johnson, and again a roar arose from the crowd.

"So far, the first day install I picked up pretty well," Johnson said. "I went out there and wasn’t really thinking a lot. I got with Fitz after everything last night and me and him went over some stuff. Everybody has been very helpful with me picking up everything. It’s just fun to be back out here and be with my teammates and getting back to football."

That rapport between Johnson and Fitzpatrick will be especially important this season. They first met at J.J. Watt's charity softball game on May 2 and Johnson said he liked Fitzpatrick a lot personally.

"We have to be on the same page, especially in this offense," Johnson said. "There is a lot of communication and a lot of stuff that goes on."

Johnson is a weapon that will only benefit Fitzpatrick, who was named the Texans' starter during their mandatory minicamp.

"He’s a true pro," Fitzpatrick said of Johnson. "I think everybody here knows that and I’ve always admired him from afar. I’ve heard a lot about his work ethic and the way that he attacks everything. It was nice to sit back and throw to him a little bit today."

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Texans, Andre Johnson’s agent are communicating

On Monday, Texans receiver Andre Johnson reportedly was back in the building.  On Tuesday, agent Kennard McGuire declined to address those reports.

“I am not refuting, confirming or denying any reports or stories,” McGuire told Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston.  “Per the collective bargaining agreement there’s a period in which veteran players are not allowed to participate or be in their team’s facilities.”

As explained earlier in the day, veteran players currently may work out on their own at team facilities.  Which is all that Johnson could have been doing, under the CBA.

While not addressing whether Johnson visited the team’s facility, McGuire admitted that he has been talking to the Texans on Johnson’s behalf.

“While I am personally in contact with the Texans organization, those conversations will remain between myself, the organization and Andre Johnson,” McGuire told Berman.

Johnson reportedly was willing to report for OTAs, but the Texans refused to give him a chance to earn back a $1 million roster bonus that Johnson forfeited by missing the first two phases of the offseason workout program.  That impasse caused Johnson to skip all remaining offseason activities, including a mandatory minicamp.  The question now becomes whether Johnson will show up for training camp.

Veterans are due to report in Houston on Friday.

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Andre Johnson expected to report to training camp on time

Andre Johnson has made it quite clear that he wants out of the Houston Texans franchise for a number of different reasons, but the team has also made it painfully clear that they have no intentions of letting Johnson go elsewhere.

Reports last week suggested that the team are not interested in shopping Johnson in any potential trades. The reason why is simple: the team is much better when Andre Johnson is wearing the Texans uniform.

Regardless of Johnson’s play next season, the team will likely not make the playoffs. Dealing him to another team, however, will not benefit the Texans in any way. Instead, the Texans are forced to look for other avenues to make Johnson a happy member of the Houston franchise.

Many pundits believed that Johnson would hold out during training camp and not show up to the team’s practices. Today, reports are surfacing that Johnson will in fact report to training camp on time as scheduled:

This is of course is great news for the Texans, as they desperately need the play making and leadership ability of Johnson in their locker room throughout training camp and into the regular season.

Only time will tell if Johnson’s attitude towards the team has changed, or if it will affect his performances come time for opening kickoff.

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Texans being petty with Andre Johnson

Andre Johnson deserves special consideration, writes Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle. He calls the handling of Johnson's situation one of general manager Rick Smith's top five bungles and advocates for the Texans guaranteeing Johnson's 2015 salary to show they actually mean they want him with the team for the rest of his career. Solomon makes a good point here, and I've always felt that players can earn the right to get special consideration for their place in a franchise's history. It wouldn't set a bad precedent. Would any player dare ask for the same treatment given to the best offensive player in franchise history? After everything Johnson has given the Texans on the field, and his positive presence off it, he deserves that. I've written the Texans' perspective on this in the past -- that they aren't inclined to let go of a player in whom they've invested so much. But it's also worth considering what Johnson has invested in the Texans, the fifth most valuable franchise in the NFL.

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Andre Johnson not a trade target for Jets, per report

Andre Johnson's continued unhappiness with the Texans—the star wide receiver has played on just two playoff teams in 11 seasons in Houston, which is in rebuilding mode again under first-year coach Bill O'Brien—had prompted renewed speculation that Johnson might force a trade.

But according to Kristian Dyer of Metro New York, the Jets can be crossed off the list as a possible trading partner (assuming the Texans want to move Johnson in the first place, of course):

Trading for Johnson “is not something we are actively pursuing,” one Jets team executive told Metro New York, adding “he isn’t a fit for where we are heading.”

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the source said the Texans have done nothing to signal a willingness to deal Johnson. But the source also made it clear the Jets aren’t looking to add Johnson at this point.

“Clearly Andre is a special player, but special players come at a price,” the executive said. “Right now, with the direction the team wants to go, it isn’t the best fit. While he is a tremendous talent, he would hurt a lot of cap flexibility.”

That view is consistent with how the Jets have operated under second-year general manager John Idzik. Idzik's habit has been to dole out contracts with an eye on avoiding significant cap costs in future years. This is not a case of IDZIK IS CHEAP!!! either: It's true the Jets have $22.3 million in cap space for this year, per NFLPA records, but that figure can be rolled over into the future, and Johnson is due to make $10 million this year, $10.5 million next year, and $11 million in 2016, per

Would Johnson, who turned 33 last Friday, be willing to work out a new deal with a new team? Who's to say.

In late May, Jets running back Chris Johnson (no relation) openly lobbied for the Jets to trade for Andre Johnson, albeit with a subsequent acknowledgement that the Texans probably won't ship him out. Two reasons the Texans and Johnson are unlikely to part ways: The 6-foot-3, 219-pound Johnson has had seven seasons with at least 1,100 receiving yards, making him one of the league's most consistently productive receivers—a significant chip for an offensive-minded coach like O'Brien. And by trading Johnson, the Texans would have to absorb a salary-cap hit of nearly $12 million, though they could spread that hit out over the next two seasons.

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Arian Foster: Andre Johnson owns Houston

Houston Texans running back Arian Foster told local television station KPRC that Houston is receiver Andre Johnson's city, above other high-profile athletes.
Johnson is unhappy with the Texans over a disputed $1 million workout bonus and has said he is unsure if he will continue his career with the team. The 33 year-old has drawn considerable interest on the trade market as teams hope Houston parts with its star receiver.

Foster tried to persuade Johnson to reconsider his stance:

"He is Houston," Foster said. "I remember when I had my little run where I had like two back-to-back great seasons. I felt like this city loves me, they love me here. Everywhere I go, this is still Dre's city. I don't care if James Harden is walking around, Dwight Howard, whatever. This is Andre Johnson's city. He is Houston."

Johnson has been with the team his entire career since being drafted No. 3 overall in 2003. He finished the 2013 season with 1,407 receiving yards and five touchdowns for the 2-14 Texans.

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Andre Johnson still unsure about Texans future, but trade more iffy

Just when there seemed to be detente between Andre Johnson and the Texans, it's getting harder to read the intentions of both sides regarding the 32-year-old wide receiver's near future in Houston.

On one hand, he just told the NFL Network that he's had some conversations with team officials and 'hopefully" will be there when the Texans open training camp in late July. On the other hand, he chose not to "talk publicly" about those discussions, and has no idea if he'll be a Texan come Week 1 of the 2014 regular season.

Another report from the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport detailed a potenital bigger rift between Johnson and the team. The issues include Johnson wanting his $1 million workout bonus as a good faith gesture for putting in his own extra work after he missed the early part of team workouts. That prompted Johnson to express his desire to play for another team, despite the fact the Texans have shown little willingness to trade him.

At this point, the Texans are opposed to dealing Johnson because he's a needed savvy No. 1 receiver in first-year head coach Bill O'Brien's passing offense. They need him to help their two newcomer quarterbacks, veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and rookie Tom Savage, as well as oto boost the value of secondary targets Deandre Hopkins and Garrett Graham.

Johnson also remains difficult to trade because of the fact it would cost the Texans nearly $12 million (in dead money) toward their salary cap for '14. Their better bet is to give the best Texan in franchise history assurances, both in terms of money and security beyond a contract that already goes through 2016, that he's still a highly valued member in their quest to quickly turn around a 2-14 season.

But should a trade occur, Johnson reportedly is willing to restructure yet again in order for his new team to be able to fit the receiver.

Stay tuned, but it still would be surprising if Johnson played anywhere other than Houston this season and for that matter, during what's left of his already great career.

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Andre Johnson's potential landing spots

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that four teams have shown interest in trading for disgruntled Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson.

Juicy stuff, but we still view a swap as unlikely because of the weighty financials: A Johnson trade would leave Houston with $11.96 million in dead cap money.

The Texans have resisted Johnson's requests to be dealt, but that won't stop teams from picking up the phone.
Here's our guess on who might be zeroing in on Andre:

New England Patriots
Cap space is limited, but New England makes plenty of sense. With Tom Brady in the final stages of his career, wrangling a true No. 1 pass-catcher would fill a genuine roster need and give Johnson a chance at the Super Bowl. We doubt Houston would have interest in shopping the wideout to an AFC power, but coach Bill O'Brien's friendship with Bill Belichick might help.

Cleveland Browns
With Josh Gordon set to walk into the abyss, how could the Browns not be interested? Cleveland has a ton of cap room and a coordinator in Kyle Shanahan who worked beautifully with the pass-catcher in years past. The Browns (sans Gordon) currently field one of the NFL's least attractive gaggle of wideouts, but pairing Johnson with Johnny Manziel would turn this roster into a dark-horse contender in the AFC North.

Carolina Panthers
Houston would sooner shop Johnson to an NFC squad, and we imagine that Johnson would be willing to re-do his deal to ease Carolina's cap. This scenario would furnish Johnson with a bona fide franchise passer in Cam Newton while instantly solving the team's lack of proven playmakers at the position. Andre and rookie Kelvin Benjamin would form a fascinating duo.

Seattle Seahawks
Seattle has never been afraid to swing for the fences. General manager John Schneider has proven he can win without a dominant corps of receivers, but Johnson would furnish Russell Wilson with a game-changing presence in a passing scheme also set to unleash a healthy Percy Harvin.

New York Jets
The Jets still lack a true No. 1 receiver despite adding Eric Decker and rookie tight end Jace Amaro. Running back Chris Johnson begged Gang Green to make a play for Johnson, but such a move would require general manager John Idzik to break from his measured approach to team-building. In New York's favor: They have prairie lands of cap room.

Baltimore Ravens
The natural connection between Johnson and new Ravens coordinator Gary Kubiak makes Baltimore a logical landing spot. The team's passing attack was a snoozefest last season, but the combined powers of Torrey Smith, Steve Smith and Johnson would turn the Ravens into one of the AFC's more dynamic air attacks.

Kansas City Chiefs
Outside of the Browns, the Chiefs might have the deepest hole at wideout. Dwayne Bowe isn't the same player and Donnie Avery or Junior Hemingway would struggle to make plenty of rosters. The need is there, but the Chiefs don't strike us as the wheeling-and-dealing type.

Oakland Raiders
Oakland is a potential wild card team identified by Rapoport that could win Johnson's services. This would certainly please new Raider and Johnson's old quarterback Matt Schaub.

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Four teams interested in trading for Andre Johnson

Before OTAs and minicamp, star wide receiver Andre Johnson told the Houston Texans he had heard enough from the new staff and coach Bill O'Brien to make him want to show up and join the team. He told them of his plans to be there for offseason workouts, despite missing the early portion of it. The question revolved around his $1 million bonus for attending workouts.

Before OTAs and minicamp, star wide receiver Andre Johnson told the Houston Texans he had heard enough from the new staff and coach Bill O'Brien to make him want to show up and join the team. He told them of his plans to be there for offseason workouts, despite missing the early portion of it. The question revolved around his $1 million bonus for attending workouts.

As he has expressed publicly, Johnson believes the team is rebuilding, and he has said he has doubts about if he wants to take part in another similar process, as he has several times in his career.

Johnson has also restructured his contract in each of the past three years at the team's behest, and he wants the same goodwill from the Texans regarding his $1 million roster bonus that he could earn Week 1 if he participates in offseason workouts and fulfills his contract.

The Texans declined to comment on the story, and Johnson's agent, Kennard McGuire, did not return a call for comment. Johnson told NFL Media on Wednesday that he didn't know if he'll be with the Texans on Week 1. Asked if he'd be at camp, Johnson said "hopefully" but he didn't know for sure.

Johnson is set to earn $10 million this year, not including his workout bonus. A source informed of Johnson's thinking says he would restructure his contract to help a potential new team get under the salary cap but a pay cut is not in the cards.

The Texans have resisted his request for a trade thus far, though four teams have expressed interest. Meanwhile, one veteran Texans player said while the team wants Johnson to play with them in 2014, they've also told him from a business sense, "Stick to your guns."

One possible option for the team to resolve this standoff (if they refuse to trade him) is to guarantee he's on the roster for 2015. That might bring Johnson back. They also could simply decide to pay him his $1 million bonus. Or, they could stand their ground and he'll play for no one in 2014.

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Why the Houston Texans won’t trade Andre Johnson

Andre Johnson may not be content with his current situation, but don’t expect the Houston Texans to trade him, either.

Johnson told NFL Media he didn’t know if he would play for the Texans in 2014:

“I’ve had conversations with the organization. I haven’t been public about anything, so I just choose not to talk publicly about it. It’s in-house and that’s the way I choose to keep it. I’m not a big media guy, so I refuse to talk about it publicly. Training camp is a few weeks away, so we’ll see what happens.”

NFL Media: Will we see you in a Texans uniform next season?

“I don’t know. I can’t answer that question.”

Johnson has said he doesn’t want to be part of another rebuilding effort after Houston’s 2-14 season in 2013. He turns 33 years old Friday, and knows he doesn’t have much time left in the NFL. There have been whispers about a demand to be traded, but coach Bill O’Brien has said he would like to have Johnson with the team next season.

In an attempt to show how serious he was about the Texans improving before offering his commitment to them, Johnson has missed all offseason training so far, which forfeited a $1 million workout bonus.

The reality remains, however, that Johnson is still under contract — and one that pays him quite well. According to, Johnson is due $14.6 million in 2014.

But there’s another number that says everything you need to know about why Houston won’t trade Johnson: if the franchise ships Johnson elsewhere, it will result in almost $12 million in dead cap space. It’s a significant amount that makes it very difficult to conceive a feasible trade. Even if another team does make a compelling offer, it would then need to take on a huge lump of Johnson’s lucrative deal.

It’s simple: the Texans have all the leverage in this situation. The team has nothing to gain from letting Johnson go unless the package that is offered in a trade is so outrageously good that it would surpass the dead cap space and would be impossible to pass up. Don’t count on that happening.

That doesn’t mean that Johnson will absolutely play for the Texans next season. He still has the option of sitting out for the entire 2014 campaign. But let’s be real; there’s no chance he walks away from $14.6 million.

If Johnson fails to show up for training camp when the team reports July 25, fines will follow. That will be the next step in determining just how far apart the two sides are.

If Johnson is gaining anything from his absence from offseason workouts, it’s letting the franchise know that he wants to win. At this point, however, it just doesn’t make sense that he’ll be headed anywhere other than Houston.

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Andre Johnson's TD catch No. 44 of 100 on list

Not much went right for the Texans in 2013. But Andre Johnson still played at an extremely high level.

Johnson caught 109 passes for 1,407 yards and five touchdowns. His five touchdowns came in a two-game span in early November with Case Keenum under center. Johnson caught three touchdowns against the Colts and two against the Cardinals in back-to-back weeks.

But Johnson's last touchdown catch in the Arizona game was the most spectacular. With 4:34 left against the Cardinals, Johnson rose up to catch a ball that was tipped off the hands of corner Patrick Peterson. After he grabbed the ball, Johnson somehow got both feet in.

That great play is No. 44 on the NFL Network's countdown of the best 100 plays of 2013.

That touchdown pulled the Texans within three points but they ended up losing 27-24. In fact, that was just one loss in 14 straight. And that touchdown catch in Week 10 was Johnson's last of the season.

Johnson has been frustrated this offseason and didn't show up to any of the team's spring practices. The 32-year-old said his frustration stems from losing.

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Andre Johnson expected to be back

ESPN Texans reporter Tania Ganguli fully expects Andre Johnson to be back with Houston this season.

Johnson skipped last month's mandatory minicamp as he tries to force a trade, but none of the media covering the Texans expect him to dig his heels in. The Texans would never be able to get equal value for a player that's 33 years old (next week) and carrying a hefty contract. Johnson's choices will likely come down to either playing with Ryan Fitzpatrick or sitting out the season.

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Andre Johnson Just Wants to Win, Since When Is That A Bad Thing?

The position has been filled with David Carr, Matt Schaub, and Ryan Fitzpatrick. These are the primary Houston Texans quarterbacks of the Andre Johnson era. This is a sad, pathetic list of QBs. And yet many people still wonder why Andre Johnson is having second thoughts about continuing to play for the Texans.

Johnson's the greatest player in the history of the Texans. He's on that very short list with Earl Campbell as the greatest player to ever play for a professional football team in Houston (if you want to count his short tenure with the USFL's Houston Gamblers, then you can include Jim Kelly). But unlike Campbell, Johnson's never been in the position to put the Texans on his back and carry the team to the playoffs. Johnson's a receiver, and there's only so much a receiver can do with QBs who can't get him the ball, or when the head coach wants to use him as the fifth decoy to a third string tight end in the red zone.

But for 11 seasons Johnson has taken to the field and excelled at the game of football. He's started 154 games, caught 927 passes for 12,661 yards and 61 touchdowns. He's blocked on running plays, served as a decoy. He's attempted to dodge injuries caused by the Texans crappy turf, and he's come to near stops on wide open bombs because certain QBs didn't have the arm strength to get the ball deep enough.

Johnson's made a habit of restructuring his contract, giving up guaranteed base pay. This has allowed the Texans to stay under the cap and work new deals with other players -- most recently being last season when he allowed the team to cut his base pay from $10.5 million to $5.5 million so the team could sign Brian Cushing to a 6-year deal.

Johnson's stated that he wants a chance to play on a winning team. That he doesn't want to start all over again. Isn't this the attitude that all fans should want, a guy who wants to win football games? Yet the primary fan response is that Johnson should suck it up, take his pay, and play for a rebuilding team. It's one thing to say this to J.J. Watt who's still young, or to Ryan Fitzpatrick who's a mediocre journeyman known as much for his awful TD/interception ratio and for going to Harvard than he is for his abilities as a QB.

But Johnson's about to play his 12th season. It's a career that's seen his team reach the playoffs just twice. It's a career that's seen his team rebuild multiple times. He's been the face of the franchise, going out into the city performing charitable deeds and setting the perfect example for his teammates. He's been the consummate professional. The guy just wants one last chance to play for a winner, yet somehow he's the bad guy for not wanting to just sit back and take it.

It's hard to name another top-notch wide receiver who has played with such a string of crappy QBs for his entire career -- even Larry Fitzgerald had Kurt Warner for a few years. Jerry Rice had Joe Montana and Steve Young for most his career. Reggie Wayne's caught passes from Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. Calvin Johnson now has Matt Stafford's big arm and Stafford's belief in Johnson's ability to catch any pass thrown in his direction.

How would those receivers do if David Carr was slinging the ball in their direction, or if they dealt with a QB who'd rather throw a short pass to a running back than to the best receiver in the game? Just think of what Andre Johnson's numbers might look like if Tom Brady was throwing him jump balls in the end zone every week.

Johnson's career will end soon -- the odds are the Texans will drop him after this upcoming season because they no longer want to pay him. All he wants is a chance at the Super Bowl. Instead the Texans have provided him with a coach who's reputation is built on the legend of Tom Brady (just like the reputation of his previous coach was built on the legends of John Elway and Steve Young) but has yet to prove anything as a head coach. He got to watch his bosses pass on drafting a potentially elite QB in the first round so that a Mario Williams clone could be selected instead. The guy should have demanded a trade by now, instead he's expressing displeasure and thinking out his options.

Maybe Texans fans should lash out at Bob McNair instead of Andre Johnson. McNair's the one, after all, who's been happy fielding a mediocre product from year to year. Andre Johnson doesn't want to take anymore. It's a shame the fans don't feel the same way.

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Texans keep moving on without Andre Johnson

Newly named starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn’t know Andre Johnson well but is looking forward to finally working with him.

After head coach Bill O’Brien made Fitzpatrick the starter, the veteran quarterback was asked about the absence of seven-time Pro Bowl receiver Andre Johnson.

“He’s a true professional in terms of everything I’ve heard about him, everything I’ve seen from afar and the tape that I’ve watched,” he said about Johnson. “Obviously, you guys (media) know and have seen him play over the years and be very consistent and play at a high level.

“For me, it’s going out there with the guys that are here and trying to perform. It’s kind of different situation right now. I don’t know Andre all that well, but the guys that have been here, I think it has been a pretty productive offseason — just getting to throw to all of the different guys.

“When I first got here, I hadn’t thrown to any of them, so it’s been a really good experience for me in terms of getting to learn a lot of different guys.”

O’Brien has maintained regular contact with the veteran wide receiver, despite Johnson missing all of OTAs and the first day of a mandatory minicamp Tuesday at NRG Stadium.

As a whole, though, the Texans are carrying on without Johnson, who remains at odds with the organization and has no timetable for his return.

“It’s all about the guys that are here,” said O’Brien, who has spoken and exchanged text messages with Johnson during the receiver’s holdout. “The guys that are here seem to be really focused.”

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Andre Johnson won’t be coming to mandatory minicamp

Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson hasn’t volunteered for any of the voluntary workouts this offseason.

And he won’t be volunteering for the mandatory ones, either.

According to Brian Smith of the Houston Chronicle, Johnson won’t be attending this week’s mandatory minicamp, via his adviser and uncle Andre Melton.
That will subject Johnson to nearly $70,000 in fines if he skips all three days.

But for a guy scheduled to make $10 million this year, that’s palatable, if he’s able to parlay his absence into a new address, which seems to be what he wants.

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Andre Johnson is committed to his position, but would he retire for it?

Veteran wideout Andre Johnson already has forfeited a $1 million roster bonus by not participating in the offseason program. It’s a no-brainer that he’ll risk another $70,000 in fines by not reporting for mandatory minicamp.

The far more important question: What comes next?

If Johnson stays away from training camp, he’ll risk $30,000 per day in fines and, eventually, the loss of bonus money he previously received.  If Johnson retires (and he might), he faces no fines — but he may have to surrender $8.694 in previously paid bonus money that was prorated for cap purposes.

That’s the biggest difference between Johnson’s potential retirement and former Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer’s decision to call it quits in Cincinnati three years ago. With all previously paid bonus money earned, the Bengals were unable to recover any cash from Palmer. If Johnson retires, the Texans could play hardball.

At a certain point, it would be unfair to make Johnson pay back money. Last September, he agreed to convert $5.5 million of his base salary to signing bonus for cap purposes. That created $4.125 million in space that the team needed, at a time when Johnson could have insisted on his full salary.

Unless his contract exempts the unearned portion of the bonus from forfeiture, Johnson could be required to give back $4.125 million.

In hindsight, Johnson possibly wishes he had. For now, his gratuity gives the team extra leverage, if his commitment to his position ends in a retirement.

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Texans coach O’Brien unsure when Andre Johnson will return

First-year head coach Bill O’Brien is unsure whether veteran wide receiver Andre Johnson will attend an upcoming mandatory three-day minicamp, which runs Tuesday through Thursday.

“I don’t know,” O’Brien said. “I don’t know.”

Johnson, who is at odds with the organization, missed all 10 of the Texans’ OTAs, which concluded Friday.

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Arian Foster is Calling Out to Andre Johnson

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Texans remain silent as Andre Johnson misses second OTA

The Texans continue to say little about absent wide receiver Andre Johnson, who missed his second OTA Wednesday.

Asked if he had spoken to the team about Johnson, coach Bill O’Brien didn’t budge.

“I’ll never tell you what I talk to the team about, with all due respect,” O’Brien said at NRG Stadium. “Whatever I talk to the team about is between myself and the team and that’s the way it’ll always be.”

Deandre Hopkins, the Texans’ primary receiver without Johnson, was equally reluctant to discuss his missing teammate.

“I don’t want to speak on that. I’m sorry,” Hopkins said.

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Chris Johnson: Let's get Andre Johnson

Running back Chris Johnson sent New York Jets fans into a Twitter frenzy Tuesday night, tweeting that the Jets should trade for disgruntled Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson.

A Johnson & Johnson attack for the Jets? Catchy. For obvious reasons, owner Woody Johnson probably likes the sound of it, but this is strictly fantasy football chatter at this point.

It's highly unlikely the Texans would trade Johnson, their best offensive weapon and arguably the most accomplished player in franchise history. As promised, he skipped a voluntary practice Tuesday, intensifying the speculation about his future in Houston. Johnson, reportedly unhappy with the direction of the team, recently wondered if he's still a fit.

The Jets spent big money to sign Eric Decker, but they could still use another quality wideout -- and they don't come much better than Johnson. Despite a terrible quarterback situation, he caught 109 passes for 1,407 yards last season. Johnson is a pro's pro and would help the Jets on many levels.

But keep dreaming, Jets fans.

The cold reality is that Johnson turns 33 in July and he's still owed $33.5 million over the next three seasons -- a huge number even for the Jets, who have about $23 million in cap room. For cap purposes, it makes no sense for the Texans to trade Johnson. Also remember that new coach Bill O'Brien is a Bill Belichick disciple, which means he probably won't be eager to accommodate the selfish desire of one player if it hurts the team. And a trade would hurt the Texans because there's no way they'd get fair-market value in return for the effective, but aging, receiver. If they did decide to move him, it would make sense to send him out of the AFC.

Wednesday's Jets practice is open to the media, which means Johnson can expect a lot of questions about his tweet. It also wouldn't be a surprise if he receives a message from John Idzik, who may tell Johnson to leave the GMing to him. After all, Johnson's job is to accumulate yards, not players.

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Andre Johnson misses first day of Texans’ OTAs

J.J. Watt shared the same defensive front with Jadeveon Clowney. Four quarterbacks alternated throws. Brian Cushing watched from the sideline.

Andre Johnson? Nowhere to be found.

The Texans star wide receiver was absent from the team’s first of 10 organized team activities Tuesday at an indoor practice facility near NRG Stadium. Johnson said two weeks ago he planned to miss OTAs and a June mandatory camp. But Tuesday’s no-show was final confirmation the longtime Texan and the only team he’s ever played for remain at odds.

“We’d love to him here right now but that’s up to him,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said. “Again, we’re moving forward with the players that are here. These guys that are here are working extremely hard.”

Players in uniform had little to say about Johnson, a seven-time Pro Bowler who’s grown frustrated with the team’s losing ways. While the Texans focused on learning O’Brien’s new system and adjusting to up-tempo practices, the fact that the all-time franchise leader in receiving yards was missing drew little public notice.

“I’m just out here working hard and doing my job and trying to be a good teammate,” Watt said.

O’Brien has twice addressed Johnson’s absence. But the first-year coach took the same stance Tuesday as he did during the team’s rookie minicamp, praising Johnson as a player but declining to go into detail about a rift that could last for weeks or months.

Neither Johnson’s agent, Kennard McGuire, nor Texans general manager Rick Smith have commented since Johnson voiced his displeasure about the franchise.

“I’ll let Andre speak for himself,” O’Brien said. “I said last week that he and I have had positive conversations. I have a ton of respect for him.”

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New England Patriots still interested in Andre Johnson?

Just a few weeks ago, it looked like Houston Texans’ wide receiver Andre Johnson may be on his way out of town.

The former Miami Hurricanes’ star has had an excellent career for the Texans, but they are without a starting caliber quarterback and had the worst record in the NFL in 2013. That has led Johnson to express his frustration and has led many to believe he would be open to a trade.

One team that has a huge need for a receiver is the New England Patriots. Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick has always been a fan of Johnson and with an improved defense that added cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, defensive lineman Will Smith and return linebacker Jerod Mayo from injury, Johnson could be the missing piece.

That’s why the guys at Comcast Sports New England believe the Patriots should absolutely make a move for Johnson.

Steve Buckley and Danny Picard joined Sports Tonight to discuss the topic.

“Andre Johnson wants to be a part of a team that has that quarterback to win them the big game.” said Picard, “If I were the Patriots, I would absolutely be interested. If I’m Andre Johnson, I only come out and make these comments because I’m interested in playing with a guy like Tom Brady.”

Steve Buckley compared this situation with another former Patriot wideout.

“You can apply everything you just said, just scratch out that name and put in Randy Moss.” said Buckley, “It was different, he was trying to resurrect his career, but he was also looking to play with a good quarterback.”

Although Johnson is 32 years old, he made 109 catches for 1,407 yards and five touchdowns last season.

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Andre Johnson To Skip Texans Minicamp

Amid reports that Andre Johnson and Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien have had good communication, Around The League is reporting that Johnson is likely to skip the teams mandatory minicamp that’s coming up.

The Pro Bowl wide receiver is on record saying that he doesn’t plan to take part in voluntary OTAs when they begin next week. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Wednesday’s edition of “NFL Total Access” that Johnson is also unlikely to attend the mandatory minicamp.

This news comes on the heels of Johnson publicly stating that he wasn’t sure if Houston was the right fit for him anymore. Johnson’s concerns reportedly have less to do with their quarterback situation, and more to do with simply not wanting to go through another rebuilding effort.

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Will the Houston Texans Trade a frustrated Andre Johnson?

The Houston Texans shouldn’t even consider trading Andre Johnson. And I highly doubt they will.

Johnson is obviously frustrated. Being the kind of guy he is, he won’t go much beyond his recent passive-aggressive flirtation with wanting to play elsewhere. But for anyone expecting him to come out full throttle and demand a trade, those who know him well don’t believe that’s how he is wired. Certainly he isn’t thrilled with the turn the organization has taken the past year or so, and having to learn a new offense now with so much uncertainty at the quarterback position is hardly ideal for a franchise receiver.

First of all, Johnson is the most decorated player in Texans history. He literally is the franchise (though obviously J.J. Watt is taking that lead now, too; not that Watt would be thrilled about having to actually play out a puny fifth-year option for the club in 2015). Johnson has been there more or less from the get-go, and he is still a very productive player on a team that isn’t exactly overloaded with premium weapons in the passing game. He’s the central cog, especially given the health woes of Arian Foster the past few years and the way the running game has regressed.

If indeed the Texans do end up giving immediate work to recent draft pick Tom Savage, that’s all the more reason Johnson’s presence would be of supreme import, especially considering this particular kid quarterback missed two years of precious developmental time in college due to transfers. They need Johnson to help bring the offense along, and let’s face it, even if veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick is under center, you are looking at a fairly limited option at quarterback there, too, and one with a predilection for turnovers. Having a proven big-play receiver is a must.

New head coach Bill O’Brien is an offensive guru, but this was the NFL’s worst team a year ago and it lacks a proven quarterback, and O’Brien isn’t looking to start his tenure looking like an embarrassment on that side of the ball.

The overarching reality is that the Texans and general manager Rick Smith have been very good to Johnson throughout his career, twice tearing up his contract when they didn’t have to, treating him with the utmost respect and rewarding him for being the kind of person and player he has been through his distinguished tenure in Houston.

Johnson is anything but disrespected in the pay department. Yes, several other receivers have surpassed the contract since he signed his last extension in 2012, but this is a man who is averaging just under $10 million a season. He is set to make $7.5 million this season and then has two more years left beyond that, worth $23.5 million.

But if this past offseason told us anything at all about players on the wrong side of 30 who make big money being offered up in trade, it’s that there isn’t any real value there at all. In a league where a younger DeSean Jackson ends up just being released because there are no trade options and no one will trade for Julius Peppers or DeMarcus Ware because teams will just wait for them to be cut, the marginal future draft pick the Texans might get for Johnson wouldn’t be worth it. Not for the huge gulf they would have in their offense this season.

Let’s just consider exactly how big of a loss Johnson, who will be 33 when the season starts, would be. Johnson caught 109 balls a year ago, despite having a revolving door at quarterback. That’s 57 more receptions than anyone else on the team, with rookie DeAndre Hopkins a distant second at 52. Johnson had 1,407 receiving yards, or 605 more than anyone else on the roster. (Don’t forget, this team already parted with longtime stalwart tight end Owen Daniels due to contract and cap issues, losing a key target in the process.) You can knock Johnson’s touchdown totals all you want (five in 2013) but there weren’t too many quarterbacks throwing too many touchdowns anywhere in a Texans uniform last fall.

Johnson has been good for 1,200 yards any season in which he has been healthy -- and he has been plenty durable -- and he is a guy who shows up big at big moments. But given his age and salary, getting a reciprocal value back in trade isn’t going to happen, and he will be worth more to a developmental quarterback these next few years in practices and the offseason and the average off-day Tuesday than he might be even on the field. You need this guy around as you change staffs. Period.

This receiving corps desperately needs Johnson, too. Besides Johnson and Hopkins -- who had a promising rookie campaign -- the Texans currently have Thomas, Alan Bonner, Andy Cruse, Alec Lemon, Keshawn Martin, Devier Posey and Uzoma Nwachukwu.

That’s one of the least experienced receiving groups you are going to find. Most of these guys haven’t played a meaningful snap in the NFL, ever. And while tight end Garrett Graham made some nice strides last season, he doesn’t have an established pedigree, either.

The quarterback is going to need someone to throw the ball to. He’s going to need Johnson.

Johnson has 61 career receiving touchdowns; the rest of Houston’s receivers have combined for 11 (and that’s including seven from Thomas, who might not make this team).

So let Johnson grouse and grumble if he likes. Show him, over time, how quickly your offense can evolve, and go into the season with your best receiver on your roster. Because he hasn’t slowed down yet, and that potential mid-round pick in 2015 won’t do anything for the Texans this year, if ever.

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Texans coach had ‘very positive’ talks with Andre Johnson

Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson is frustrated.

After expressing those frustrations publicly earlier this week, coach Bill O’Brien said he has been in contact with Johnson and that the talks have been positive.

“I think I’ll let Andre speak for himself,” O’Brien said, according to “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Andre and his career here in Houston. The conversations that Andre and I have had have been very positive about what we’re doing here as a team and, obviously offensively, what we’re doing here. As far as what Andre said, I’ll let him speak for himself. I can only tell you from my end we’ve had good, positive communication.”

This comes as good news for the franchise, which might have been concerned after hearing about the wide receiver’s words from earlier this week.

“Nobody’s been here as long as I have. You just kind of look at things; I’ve been thinking about things this offseason,” Johnson said Tuesday at a charity event. “And I just kind of wonder sometimes, ‘Is this still the place for me?’ ”

Johnson registered 109 receptions, 1,407 yards and five touchdowns in 2013, despite struggles at quarterback. Houston traded Matt Schaub to the Oakland Raiders, leaving Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum and T.J. Yates on the depth chart for next season.

The Texans also selected former Pittsburgh Panther Tom Savage  in the NFL draft last week.

Although expressing frustrations at a charity event isn’t the most productive way to do it, Johnson does have a point; Houston’s current situation isn’t the most stable, especially at quarterback. With a new coaching regime and a roster filled with talent on defense, however, there is room for growth with the Texans.

The big question is whether Johnson has the patience to stick around to see it through. Johnson is under contract for three more years with the Texans.

“We’re going to continue to communicate and we’ve had good discussions, we’ve had good talks,” O’Brien said. “We’ve spoken quite a bit and will continue to do that.”

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Houston Texans would save nearly $4 million by trading Andre Johnson

The Houston Texans are going through some big changes at the moment and one of those changes could be to move wide receiver Andre Johnson before the trade deadline this season. Johnson has recently voiced his displeasure and frustration with the Texans which has many wondering what his future holds.

According to, should the Texans trade Johnson they’d have to eat over $11 million in dead money but would end up saving almost $4 million on the massive deal Johnson is playing out. as for where Johnson could land in a trade, it has been speculated that the Cleveland Browns could be a fit thanks to their scheme, the connection to offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and the basic need for a top receiver after the Josh Gordon situation.
Cleveland also has the cap space to trade for Johnson, and after moving around the draft they have some assets as well.

Trading Johnson may not be in the cards for Houston as there’s a lot of dead money involved, but if he’s really that unhappy and the Texans can get some return on their receiver then we may see something happen.

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Not first time Andre Johnson, Texans have butted heads

Andre Johnson’s frustrated comments Tuesday were his most direct attack to date against the Texans, as the veteran wide receiver questioned the future of his 11-plus year relationship with the only team he’s ever played for.

But they weren’t unprecedented. Neither was the situation.

As the 2010 season approached, Johnson was coming off back-to-back Pro Bowls. He led the NFL in receiving yards both seasons, totaling 216 catches for 3,144 yards in 2008-09.

In May 2010, Johnson missed three voluntary practices and the initial portion of organized team activities due to a contract dispute, despite having five years left on an eight-year, $60 million deal. At the time, Johnson was one of the premier receivers in the NFL but wasn’t receiving an elite salary.

“They say a closed mouth never gets fed, so I communicated with (general manager) Rick Smith and (owner) Mr. (Bob) McNair and told them how I felt,” said Johnson, who hired agent Kennard McGuire during the process.

Smith’s response: “Our policy’s been that we’ll look at deals and we’ll try to get things done during the offseason. But once the season starts, our entire focus as an organization goes to football and playing games.”

By Aug. 5, the best player in franchise history had the new deal he wanted. Johnson’s contract was extended two years at a base salary of $23.5 million and with a maximum value of $38.5 million. At the time, the revised contract made Johnson the highest-paid receiver in the NFL.

“I want to thank the organization,” Johnson said. “I don’t know what to say other than thank you from the bottom of my heart. I also want to thank my teammates. I’m very happy right now.”

Smith joked: “I know this sets a precedent. And if another player comes to my office wanting to (renegotiate), I’ll tell him to get some pelts on the wall like Andre, and we’ll talk.”

Smith said the revised deal would make Johnson a “Texan for life.”

“It’s important that Andre have one home — and that’s with the Houston Texans,” McNair said. “He’ll probably be our first Hall of Fame player. We wanted to make sure he went in as a Texan and he played his career as a Texan.”

Since 2010, Johnson has continued to be one of the league’s elite receivers. He holds the Texans’ franchise record in all-time receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. After an injury-plagued 2011, when Johnson was limited to seven games, he bounced back in 2012-13 to combine for 221 catches and 3,005 yards. In the Texans’ lost 2013 season, when the team went an NFL-worst 2-14, Johnson was one of the few consistent bright spots and the team’s undisputed offensive most valuable player.

Still, at the height of the Texans’ 12-4 season in 2012 — the franchise’s peak since Johnson was drafted by the team in 2003 — the veteran wide receiver echoed his comments Tuesday.

“I wouldn’t say that there was a time when I said, ‘Get me out of here,’ ” Johnson told the Boston Globe, referring to the Texans’ woeful expansion years. “Had I thought about it? Yeah.”

Now, the Texans are again entering a new era. Coach Bill O’Brien is in some ways building his vision of an NFL team from scratch. Johnson is entering his 12th season and will turn 33 on July 11. By the time many expect the Texans to be consistently competitive again, Johnson could be in his 15th year in the league.

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Frustrated Andre Johnson will not attend OTAs or mini camp, says he has decision to make

HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Houston Texans receiver Andre Johnson skipped the Texans voluntary mini camp and said he has no plans to take part in the team's organized team activities or the mandatory mini camp in June.

Johnson said he is frustrated with the losing he has dealt with over his career, but also pointed out this is not about his contract and he has not asked to be traded.

"I've been thinking about things this offseason and I kind of wonder is sometimes is this still the place for me," Johnson told the Houston media who was covering a check presentation on behalf of his charity golf tournament.

"I haven't went to anybody about a contract. I haven't came out and asked for a trade or anything like that. It's just something I'm thinking about right now."

Johnson said he was in Houston when the Texans recently held their voluntary minicamp and he has had conversations with team officials, including head coach Bill O'Brien.

"We've talked," Johnson said. "They understand how I feel. Like I said it's just something I'm thinking about. It's not something I came out and flew off with 'hey I want to get out of there or anything like that'. It's not nothing like that.

"When you go through what I've been through as a player, now on my third head coach, I think it's just something you have to give thought to."

When specifically asked what is bothering him Johnson said, "losing."

And he reflected on what he has been through during his 12 years with the Texans.

"I just look over my career and just kind of wonder is it a place?," Johnson said. " I've only been to the playoffs twice. I think we've had only three winning seasons, two eight and eight seasons. I don't think any player wants to experience that. Over time it can become very frustrating.

"Losing, that's it. I don't play to lose. I don't think anyone in this league does, but that's probably the most frustrating."

Johnson acknowledged that he does have a decision to make, but did not get specific about what that means.

"When you bring a new coach in, you go through a rebuilding process," Johnson said. "Some people say it's not rebuilding and some people say it's a quick fix.

"Everybody has their own opinion. I've been through the situation more than once.

"Right now I'm just taking some time, think about some things and when I make my decision, I'll make my decision and go from there."

The Texans did not have a response.

On Tuesday Johnson presented the Houston Area Women's Center with a check for $30,000.

The non-profit organization is the beneficiary of Johnson's first annual charity golf tournament.

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Frustrated Andre Johnson on Texans: 'Is this still the place for me?'

The vibe in Houston should be good this week, with No. 1 pick Jadeveon Clowney headlining the latest draft class.

But Andre Johnson doesn't have the time to wait for this draft class to come in and develop and eventually improve Houston's 2-14 record from last year. Johnson has run out of patience, and although he hasn't specifically asked for a trade, he obviously isn't happy with the Texans anymore.

Johnson voiced his frustration to the Houston Chronicle about his situation. Johnson is likely on his way to the Hall of Fame, but is 32 and has barely experienced any team success in his 11 seasons with Houston.

"I just look at my career. ... I've only been to the playoffs twice," he told the Chronicle's Brian Smith.

He made it clear this isn't about his contract. But he doesn't plan on attending OTAs or the mandatory minicamp, so even though he hasn't officially requested a trade, it seems he wants out. 

Johnson probably has a point. He's still among the top 10 receivers in the NFL, coming off a 109-catch, 1,407-yard season. He's also looking at being a part of a team with a new coaching staff, with journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick poised to start at quarterback with no clear franchise quarterback of the future on the roster, on a team that could quadruple its 2013 win total and still not make the playoffs.

If Johnson ever does hit the trading block, there would be a tremendous battle for his services. Johnson has 12,661 career yards, has passed 1,400 yards four times in the past six seasons and is still very effective. Imagine what he could do for Seattle, Baltimore, Kansas City or New England, to name a few? Or if you stick him on New Orleans with Drew Brees, or if Denver decides he'd be a great replacement for Eric Decker? The possibilities would be intriguing. Perhaps the relationship hasn't gotten to that point, and his contract would make a trade difficult (he has more than a $12 million cap hit this year, and it jumps past $16 million next year). Johnson told the Chronicle the Texans are aware of his displeasure, so if Johnson was going to get moved it probably would have happened before the draft.

But for all the teams that would love to add Johnson to their offense, it's clear that one of the teams Johnson doesn't want to be on is the one he plays for now.

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Andre Johnson should be frustrated

Andre Johnson didn't attend Texans voluntary workouts last week, which is within his rights because they are, after all, voluntary. But his absences were unusual because he has had so few in his 11-year career and also because it would have been the wide receiver's first opportunity to acquaint himself with a new coach and a new offense.

So it was natural to ask if Johnson was sending a message.

In fact, he did send one. People close to him said he informed the Texans he was occupied with other business and will be in Houston this week to fulfill commitments.

He's not angry.

That leads to another question.

Why not?

Anger is not an emotion often associated with the reserved Johnson, although we did see that side of him late in the loss to Oakland last season when he and Matt Schaub exchanged words on the sideline. Johnson walked off the field before the game ended.

But no one could blame Johnson if he were frustrated, especially after the lack of urgency the Texans seem to have in regard to their offense this offseason. That was never more apparent than during the three days of the NFL draft that ended Saturday.

Defense upgraded

They unquestionably upgraded their defense, selecting the best player in the draft, South Carolina's extraordinary pass rusher J.D. Clowney, with the No.? pick overall and trading up into the third round for a run-stopping nose tackle, Notre Dame's Louis Nix, considered by some to have first-round talent.

Otherwise, the Texans' draft was uninspiring.

We might judge otherwise in retrospect. Bill Polian, a former executive with three NFL teams, said it takes four years to determine whether a team's draft was successful.

But it appears today as if the Texans did little to address their most apparent offensive needs, adding replacement parts during the first two days, a guard in the second round and a tight end in the third, and waiting until the middle of the fourth round Saturday to acquire a quarterback.

That was Pittsburgh's Tom Savage, the 135th player and the seventh quarterback drafted.

Texans general manager Rick Smith said before the draft the team was open to a more unorthodox quarterback considering the success of Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick.

"They've given people some confidence that you don't necessarily need to have a traditional type of quarterback to be successful in our league," he said.
If the Texans were among the confident, they would have taken Georgia's Aaron Murray. NFL Network's Mike Mayock said two quarterbacks had the potential
to start in the NFL from day one, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and Murray.

Going with prototype

Instead, the Texans went with a prototypical 6-4, 228-pound quarterback, the type those who have followed coach Bill O'Brien's career said all along he preferred.

Savage didn't receive much attention in his only season at Pitt, where he transferred from Arizona, where he had transferred from Rutgers. He impressed O'Brien during his pro day in March, along with so many other coaches he couldn't fit all of them in for private workouts.

"Savage is one of the great American mysteries right now," Jon Gruden said before the draft. "It is a limited body of work. He's a pocket passer with a strong arm. I'm sure some people have seen it and fell in love with him because of that."

Gil Brandt, who built the Cowboys' scouting department, compared Savage's arm to Troy Aikman's.

"From an arm talent perspective, it doesn't get much better than Tom Savage," Mayock said.

But he added, "You'd like him to have better feet. He takes too many sacks."

To be exact, 43 last season. That was the most in college football's top division.

Some of those no doubt were due to an offensive line less than adept at pass blocking, which should make Savage feel at home with the Texans.

Besides quarterback, the Texans' most pressing offensive need was for a right tackle. They didn't take one in the draft.

Their next most pressing offensive need was for a running back to play behind Arian Foster, coming off an injury. They took one with their second pick in the sixth round, Alfred Blue, who started only two games last season at LSU.

Savage shouldn't be too discouraged because by the time he's ready to play in a year or two, the Texans might have improved their offense. Their second-round choice, UCLA guard Xavier Su' A-Filo, might become a tackle. Their third-round choice, Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, might become the next Rob Gronkowski.

Andre Johnson, however, should be discouraged. He will be 33 in July. He doesn't have enough years left for the offense to slowly rebuild.
He surely didn't volunteer for that.

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REPORT: Andre Johnson Was Denied A New Contract In 2013

HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – Andre Johnson is the most notable face missing from the Houston Texans voluntary mini-camp.

“From my understanding, Andre might have wanted new moneylb_icon1 last year and they didn’t give it to him.” Travis Johnson told Mad Radio with Mike Meltser and Seth Payne Thursday.

“Andre is preparing…he’s working hard. I think he’s going to be here. There’s no scenario where he’s not going to be here. I don’t think he’s mad at the team at all.”

Travis Johnson, who is friends and knows many current and former Texans players doesn’t think it has changed Andre Johnson’s attitude.

“He’s not unhappy,” Johnson said. “Eleven years in you need a little bit of a break. He’s been at every OTA. He’s been at all the mini-camps. It’s time to, you know, do his own thing. Try and get better.”

Andre Johnson does not have to attend the current mini camps at Reliant Stadium right now because they are voluntary for all veterans.

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Texans begin new-look mini-camp without Andre Johnson

The Texans were a very different looking team in their first voluntary mini-camp practice Tuesday morning. Their helmets had no bull decals on them. The offense was wearing blue jerseys and the defense white, exactly the opposite of how they dressed under Gary Kubiak. And said jerseys were adorned with only numbers, not names.

There was no Matt Schaub under center, of course. And there was also no Andre Johnson, either. Schaub is an Oakland Raider now. Johnson remains a Texan – he’s still the face of the Texans going into his 12th season with the team – and he hasn’t publicly expressed any unhappiness about that fact despite last fall’s 2-14 disaster. O’Brien, asked for his take on Johnson’s absence, demurred, saying: “(Participation) is voluntary. We just coach who shows up.”

Historically, Johnson has always shown up with the rarest of exceptions, so it seemed odd he would be missing on the first day with a new coach, his fourth in Houston. He was drafted before Dom Capers’ second season, played here for Gary Kubiak’s entire run and answered to the interim man Wade Phillips for the final three games in 2013.

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Andre Johnson Ranks As The Top Draft Choice In Texans History

Ranking every draft choice in Texans history was an interesting – not to mention impossible – undertaking.

Many draft choices never made the team. Some made the team but contributed little. Injuries hampered the careers of others.

A lot of draft choices were ranked based on their potential because they haven’t been with the Texans long enough.

Ranking the worst was easy because some premium picks turned out to be huge busts. Remember a pair of third-round picks – defensive tackle Charles Hill in 2002 and outside linebacker Sam Montgomery in 2013?

Ranking the best was easy.

For instance, nobody can make a legitimate argument against receiver Andre Johnson, the third overall pick in 2003, being the best draft choice in Texans history. He’s the first Texans player who’ll have a bona-fide chance to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

No one can dispute defensive end J.J. Watt – after only three seasons – ranking behind Johnson. Watt’s impact has been so profound he has to be second because he’s considered the best defensive player in the NFL.

After Johnson and Watt, it gets dicey.

Performance, honors and longevity impacted the rankings of players three through 10.

Tight end Owen Daniels was voted to two Pro Bowls during an eight-year career that ended with him ranking second to Johnson in career receptions.

Defensive end Mario Williams became the team’s career sack leader during his six years with the Texans before Buffalo made him the highest-paid defensive player in history.

Left tackle Duane Brown has been voted to the last two Pro Bowls and is still going strong. If inside linebacker Brian Cushing bounces back from back-to-back seasons ruined by knee injuries, he’s got a chance to move up in subsequent rankings.

Middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans and right tackle Eric Winston were selected in the second and third rounds in 2006, the best draft in team history.

Chester Pitts, a second-round pick in 2002, played tackle and guard during an impressive career.

Even though cornerback Kareem Jackson has been a lightning rod for controversy since being a first-round pick in 2010, he’s improved as a player, and he’s been durable entering his fifth season.

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Andre Johnson And The Number 14

We are two weeks away from the start of the 2014 NFL draft, and at a point when the Clowney/Spurrier storyline has come full circle.

It started with Spurrier seeming to call out Clowney's work ethic, then Spurrier saying he really wasn't doing that and finally, today, he told Dan Patrick the Texans have to take Clowney first overall, that he's an athlete like none he's ever seen before.

And so we continue our countdown. Each day examining a number that coincides with the number of days until the draft.

We started yesterday with 15 days remaining until the draft, examining the Texans' 15 first-half turnovers last season.

At 14, we look at a more hopeful offensive number.

14. Record for catches in a game by a Texans' player and by an opponent

Andre Johnson, perhaps the best draft pick in Texans history, and definitely the best offensive draft pick in Texans history, holds nearly every team receiving record. The one he doesn't hold is longest reception. (And it says a lot about the Texans' offenses of yore that running back Arian Foster has two of the longest receptions in team history.)

But this one belongs to Johnson. His 14 catches in a Texans overtime win over the Jaguars in 2012 were the most catches in franchise history. He also set the record for yards in a game with 273 that day.

Johnson's average of 13.8 yards per catch in his career is the best in Texans history, which makes sense for the player who was drafted third overall in the Texans' second draft. He continued to have statistically strong seasons even after turning 30, but I'll be interested to see how he fits with the new Texans regime. Johnson, who renegotiated his contract before the 2013 season, is due to make a base salary of $10 million this season with a roster bonus of $1 million that comes with a cap number of about $15.6 million.

This offseason the Texans have trended toward younger players and smaller cap numbers. Johnson has been through a lot with this franchise, and showed his frustration at times last season. He'll turn 33 in July.

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Frank Gore, Antrel Rolle, Devin Hester, Reggie Wayne, Andre Johnson, Vince Wilfork named to CBS Sports' Under-25 vs. Over-30 teams

This year's prolonged stretch between the end of the 2013 season and the 2014 NFL Draft has left media outlets with a little more room to get creative with ideas in trying to fill the time until actual football happens again.

One of the main strategies in this endeavor is to put out a series of NFL All-Something teams. In an original wrinkle, CBS Sports took this a step further by having two of their football writers come up with an All-Under-25 team and an All-Over-30 team and then comparing them side-by-side with the goal of seeing who could come up with the better roster.

For the matchup, CBS Sports enlisted columnist Pete Prisco to come up with an Under-25 team to go up against columnist Pat Kirwan's Over-30 team.
As expected, both writers think their team is superior. Regardless, proCanes were represented on the Over-30 team with six. Zero proCanes made the under-25 team which speaks to the State of The Hurricanes teams the last few years.

Here's where they landed:
Over-30 Team, Pat Kirwan

Running back: The claim is never let a 30 year old in your backfield. Well, think again. My top choices are Frank Gore, DeAngelo Williams, Fred Jackson and Darren Sproles. I'll start Frank Gore but have Sproles ready for third down.

Wide receiver: I found 10 receivers I would like on the ol' boys team; Larry Fitzgerald, Reggie Wayne, Andre Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Vincent Jackson, Anquan Boldin, Roddy White, Wes Welker and Steve Smith. I can't have them all but I'll take Larry Fitzgerald and Brandon Marshall with Welker in the slot.
Starters: Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals (30) and Brandon Marshall, Bears (30)
Reserves: Wes Welker (32), Andre Johnson (32), Vincent Jackson (31)

Defensive tackles: Good luck running the ball against Haloti Ngata and Vince Wilfork with 700 lbs. of beef inside. When they need a rest or its time to rush the passer I have to decide between Kyle Williams, Justin Tuck and Darnell Dockett. Those three had 26 sacks between them last year.
Starters: Haloti Ngata, Ravens (30) and Vince Wilfork, Patriots (32)

Safeties: Guys who play safety for 10 years may lose a step but they can read a quarterbackand get him to do things a young safety hasn't even though of yet. My starters for the clash of the young and old will be Troy Polamalu and Antrel Rolle. If I want to go "big nickel" and bring an extra safety, Dashon Goldson and LaRon Landry are available.
Starters: Antrel Rolle, Giants (31) and Troy Polamalu, Steelers (32)

Special teams: Stephen Gostkowski just turned 30 and he was five for six on 50+ attempts but I could always call up Vinateri or any number of the kickers. Jon Ryan, punter for the Seahawks, only allowed 21 returns for a total of 82 yards the whole season and 28 punts inside the 20. Devin Hester can handle the returns with his 13 for touchdowns over his career.
Starters: Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots (30), Jon Ryan, Seahawks (32), Devin Hester, Falcons (31)

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Andre Johnson's University Of Miami Hall Of Fame Acceptance Speech

"Well I didn't prepare a speech... a lot of people know I don't talk much. But I'm truly humbled to be here tonight. To be inducted into the UM Hall of Fame is a tremendous honor. I had a childhood dream of being a Hurricane and playing for the University of Miami.

"I'm looking at guys in this room like Michael Irvin, Lamar Thomas, Horace Copeland... you know these guys have laid the foundation and when I came into UM in 1999 with Clinton, we had a goal, and our goal was getting the University of Miami back to where it was. And the guys before us had laid the foundation, and we accomplished that goal in 2001 and beat Nebraska in the National Championship.

"I'd like to thank my mom, my uncle and my brother who've been pretty much my support system since I've been playing the game of football. I don't think they've missed a game that I've played since little league, to high school to professional, so I'd like to thank them for being there for me.

"I'd like to thank all my coaches: Coach Kehoe, Coach Soldinger, Coach Mark. And I'd be wrong if I didn't thank Curtis Johnson. He was a hell of a receivers coach. He's the head coach over at Tulane now. He saw things in me that I didn't see in myself. Coming into UM, he wanted me to play in a way that I wasn't used to playing. He wanted me to play very physical and I wasn't used to that, so he started calling me "soft." I think as a player you don't like to be called soft; I don't care who you is. Like I said he saw things in myself that I didn't see in myself and he was hard on me. At first I didn't understand it, but as time went along, I figured it out. Me and him became real close friends and we still talk now today, so I'd like to thank Curtis Johnson because he's had a heck of an impact on my career.

"To sum it all up, this is where I wanted to be. I wanted to be a Hurricane, living my childhood dream, but I never thought I'd be in the UM Hall of Fame. I guess all the hard work has paid off and I thank everyone who supported me through it all... everyone who's been there for me and kept me positive and kept me on track, so thank you."

- Andre Johnson April 10, 2014

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proCanes Clinton Portis, James Jones, Andre Johnson set to join UM Sports Hall of Fame

James Jones has two NBA championships with the Miami Heat.

Andre Johnson ranks second all-time in NFL receiving-yards-per-game with the Houston Texans.

But the honor that ignites their already fierce pride in a way that can’t quite be compared to anything else, stems from their hometown dreams as children growing up yearning to be Miami Hurricanes.

Jones and Johnson will join a prolific class when they are inducted Thursday night into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame.

“To do anything here at home, in my backyard, is something that I’ll be close to forever,” said Jones, 33, a 6-8, 215-pound small forward who graduated from Miami American High, starred at UM from 1999 to 2003 and has been with the Heat since 2008. “Every time I go to a Hurricanes game or watch the Canes play or watch a Hurricanes football game or think about college sports and the U, I’ll know I have a place in history there.

“It’s a legacy. I’ll be the first in my family to do something like that. Hopefully I can set the mark for my family, my kids and especially kids from the city who dream of those types of things, but never really get the opportunity.’’

Johnson, 32, graduated from Miami Senior High and helped bring UM’s football program back to prominence from 2000 to 2002, earning a national title with the Hurricanes in 2001 while being named the Rose Bowl’s Co-MVP (along with fellow UM Sports Hall of Famer Ken Dorsey) with seven receptions for 199 yards and two touchdowns against Nebraska.

“A tremendous honor,” Johnson said this week as he prepared to work out on campus. “Growing up as a child I always wanted to be a Hurricane. It was a dream of mine. Then, to be able to come here and win a national championship and help get the school back to where it had been before, that was the greatest feeling for me.

“Those were the best days of my life and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. You were a kid and came together with a bunch of guys from different places and built something real special. You look at guys from other colleges and you can tell they don’t have the brotherhood we have here.’’

Johnson will be joined in being honored by fellow football inductees Lamar Thomas, a Hurricanes receiver from 1988 to 92, and running back Clinton Portis, who shared in the 2001 national title and went on to star with the NFL’s Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins.

Thomas, who was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1993, finished his NFL career with the Miami Dolphins (1996 to 2000) and returned to UM to earn his bachelor’s degree in 2008. He was recently hired as the wide receivers coach at Louisville, and will meet his Hurricanes on the other side of the field in the season opener at Louisville.

Portis now serves as a football analyst for the ACC Digital Network.

The other former Hurricanes being inducted include hometown athletes Wyllesheia Myrick, a two-time All-American in track who left UM with several school records from 1998 to 2002; and infielder and pitching star Javy Rodriguez (1999 to 2002), who led UM to its last two national championships in ’99 and ’01. He returned to complete his UM degree in 2011 and now coaches at alma mater Gulliver Prep.

Rounding out the honorees are Cuban native and current FIU diving coach Rio Ramirez, who earned four individual national titles with UM from 1997 to 99; and pitcher Jeff Morrison, who starred at Delray Beach Atlantic High and led the Canes to the College World Series three consecutive seasons (1979 to 81).
Morrison went on to receive his law degree from Georgetown and spent the next 30 years as an attorney in Atlanta. He is now working on his PhD at Georgia State, and will begin a second career this fall as a history professor.

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More Andre Johnson Trade Rumors

As the NFL Draft nears, Andre Johnson has found himself the subject of several trade rumors in recent days. The Houston Texans are rebuilding and head coach Bill O'Brien is bringing in "his guys." That has caused Matt Schaub to be traded, Owen Daniels to be cut and former No. 1 pick Mario Williams move on. Could the team also be planning on moving away from their No. 1 wide receiver? If so, the Raiders might be interested.

Let's get something straight, the chances the Cleveland Cavaliers win an NBA Championship this season are likely greater than Johnson getting traded. But, the rumors are out there and they cannot be ignored. Johnson put up 1,407 yards last season, but DeAndre Hopkins showed plenty of ability to take over the No. 1 spot if needed so the idea of getting rid of the wide receiver is not totally out of the box.

Having Hopkins frees up the Texans to cut cap space by trading the wide receiver. They would free up over $3 million this season, $8 million next season and $12 million in 2016 if Johnson is sent to another team willing to take up his contract. Houston would likely get another draft pick in return. They could grab a quarterback No. 1 overall and a wide receiver after that. So trading Johnson would not sink the Texans and there would be plenty of interest if he is available.

The Oakland Raiders would likely be the heavy favorites to make a move on Johnson. First, the team needs a receiver and with DeSean Jackson likely headed to Washington, Johnson would be the best available. The Raiders also traded for Matt Schaub, the former teammate of the wide receiver. Johnson was a big advocate for the Texans retaining Schaub over drafting a rookie and was not thrilled when they made the quarterback deal. Could a reunion be in the works?

It has already been reported that the Texans want more draft picks. The NFL Network reported a week ago that Houston had briefly discussed a trade with the Buffalo Bills that would give them more picks, but so far no deal has been made. Shopping Johnson as an option might be more favorable that getting the No. 1 overall pick.

Again, this is speculation.'s Field Yates reports that if a trade is going to happen, it should be one involving the Texans and Johnson. Will it happen? The safer bet might be the Chicago Cubs reaching the World Series.

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Andre Johnson Trade Rumors

Andre Johnson was mentioned in trade rumors at the deadline last season and while that has subsided, one team that could fit a Houston Texans deal is the San Francisco 49ers, as they have 11 draft picks to trade and are not going after DeSean Jackson after his release from the Philadelphia Eagles and the Niners desperately need a receiver behind Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree.

The deal would take some maneuvering since Johnson is on a seven year deal with nearly $70 million that he signed back in 2010, but since he has a decent salary for next year with a base at $6.5 million, it could work. The idea was proposed on by Field Yates in an Insider article and then picked up on by beat writer Bill Williamson, who writes that while there are receiver options in the draft past Jackson like Mike Evans, Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee and even Sammy Watkins, that adding Johnson would be a superior move to all of them.

Williamson cautions that this deal is very unlikely to go down, as the Texans will probably not want to part ways with Johnson even with his high salary, as he still is a very productive player and one of the best receivers in the NFL. Johnson had an impressive 109 catches last season for 1,407 yards despite the fact that he played with a bad Matt Schaub and a rookie in Case Keenum and that came after he had 112 catches for 1,598 yards the season before. Johnson has played in all 16 games the past two seasons and could be a huge catch for the Niners.

The 49ers could be motivated to make a deal if they can't find a way to trade up for Mike Evans, as Jim Harbaugh is desperate for a legitimate third receiver behind Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree. While the team was still very good and got to the NFC championship game last season, Boldin is getting older in age and Crabtree is still not yet a year removed from recovering from Achilles surgery. The team had the fewest three receiver sets last season and part of that were the injuries to Mario Manningham. The Niners have Vernon Davis as a receiving tight end, but they want more depth at the wide receiver position as well.

Jackson was considered to be a prime option for the 49ers and that was reported on before he was released by the Eagles by multiple websites. The Niners said that they did not have interest in Jackson when he was being shopped and now that he is on the free agent market they are one of a number of teams interested in signing him, including the Oakland Raiders, NY Jets, Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns and Seattle Seahawks.

Jackson is looking to get paid in the same range he was last season and that knocked the Chiefs and likely the Niners out, as he is looking for $9 million to $10 million for a one year deal. Jackson had one of his best seasons last year, setting highs with 82 catches for over 1,300 yards and nine touchdowns before his release from the Eagles amid reports he missed numerous meetings, had a bad work ethic and had connections to gangs back in LA. 

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Andre Johnson supports Women's Center in Golf Classi

It was a beautiful Monday for birdies and bogeys as Texans wide receiver Andre Johnsonicon-article-link hosted his inaugural Celebrity Golf Classic at the Golf Club of Houston. The charitable event benefited the Houston Area Women’s Center, an organization dedicated to helping individuals affected by domestic and sexual violence in their efforts to move forward.

Johnson, an avid leader in community involvement, relished the opportunity to support an organization like the Women’s Center.

“You always want to give back, especially being here 11 years now,” he said. “Not many people get to see you and interact with you, and that’s just something I said I always wanted to do.

“Growing up I never got a chance to meet a professional athlete, so I always said I wanted to get out and let people get a chance to meet you or give you a hug or shake your hand. That’ s why I continue to do what I do.”

Joining him on the links were teammates, former Texans, friends and others. Tight end Owen Daniels, cornerback Johnathan Joseph, as well as free agent fullback Vonta Leach and Philadelphia linebacker DeMeco Ryans spoke about Johnson’s generosity in the community.

“We love helping out our teammates and other players around the league when they have foundations and things that mean a lot to them,” Daniels said. “’Dre’s one of my favorites, so it’s great to be here for him.”

“Whenever Andre calls, I have to make sure I’m here,” echoed Ryans. “He’s, first and foremost, a great friend and always has been from when I was here in Houston and we still keep in touch. He’s an awesome guy who’s doing great things in the community. You have to come out and support a first class guy like Andre.”

For 37 years the Women’s Center has been providing shelter, counseling and advocacy to support women, children and men in building lives free from the effects of violence. Johnson’s contribution will assist in providing a place of refuge and relief to the 120 people living in residential shelters.

“My foundation is always working with kids that grew up in a single parent home and things like that,” Johnson said in an interview last month. “I’ve been able to work with the women at the Women’s Center in the past, and we wanted to reach back out to them and work with them again. Giving back to the women that have been battered and stuff like that and have been through some tough things in their life, just to help them get back on their feet. We just try to help out as much as we can.”

As for his golf game, Johnson predicted it would be “very inconsistent.”

“I may hit a good shot and hit five bad ones,” he said with a laugh. “I think that’s what makes me want to play it so bad and become good at it, because it’s a challenge. I’m a competitor.”

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Andre Johnson prepared to catch passes from any QB next season

Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson is fully aware that he could be paired with a new starting quarterback this season. The best player in franchise history will attempt to find a quick rhythm with anyone the Texans select to lead them. But the 11-year veteran acknowledged he prefers to take the field with a QB who already knows the intricacies of the NFL.

“You want a guy that’s going to be able to come in and do the best job and play right away,” Johnson said Sunday during a media event at a downtown Houston restaurant. “Most of the time guys are looking for veterans because they have the most experience, they know what to expect. But sometimes you can find that young guy that can come in and pick it up right away and go out there and make plays for you.”

Johnson’s foundation is hosting its inaugural charity golf tournament Monday at the Golf Club of Houston in Humble. The event will benefit the Houston Area Women’s Center.

Texans quarterback Case Keenum joined ex-Texans players Vonta Leach and Dunta Robinson in supporting Johnson’s gathering.

Keenum, who is fully healthy after missing the final two games of 2013, intends to use the Texans’ overhaul of their coaching staff as an opportunity to prove he can become a starter again.

“That’s the beauty of a new coaching staff and a new system, is that everybody kind of starts out at zero,” Keenum said. “We all get to build new relationships and new trust.”

Johnson spoke with former starter Matt Schaub about two weeks ago. While many expect the veteran QB to be released when free agency begins Tuesday, Johnson said Schaub recently had the mindset that he would be a part of coach Bill O’Brien’s team in 2014.

“I get the feeling that he feels like he’s going to be here. … He’s in good spirits,” Johnson said. “I think this offseason was great for him, just to get away and clear his mind.

“As long as (Matt) is my teammate, me and him are going to be working together. Hopefully he’s still here. That’s out of my control but we’ll see what happens.”

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Andre Johnson not retiring anytime soon

HUMBLE — Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson said he’s recovered from a late-season wrist injury that forced him to miss the Pro Bowl and is fully healthy three months before the annual draft.

“I had played for a few weeks (with the wrist) and it was pretty sore and I didn’t want to go back out there and bang it up anymore,” Johnson said Wednesday at the Golf Club of Houston.

Johnson spoke with the media after receiving a quick golf lesson. He’s holding a charity event March 10 at the club, which will benefit the Houston Area Women’s Center.

“It’s so exciting. We are just thrilled,” said Rebecca White, the center’s president and CEO. “It’s very welcome news. Every year we serve 10s of 1,000s of Houstonians and we do that because we are lucky to be in a very generous community. And this is just another extraordinary example.”

Johnson was his normal low-key self Wednesday. But he willingly addressed multiple topics, including the intrigue surrounding former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, the after effects of being part of last season’s 2-14 Texans and ex-Missouri defensive end Michael Sam’s recent announcement that he’s gay.

Johnson has spent time with Manziel and believes he’s a “great player.”

The Texans hold the No. 1 pick in the May draft. If they select a QB, Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles and Manziel are the leading candidates.

“(Manziel) seems like a good kid. Very into football,” Johnson said. “He’s exciting. He’s an exciting player to watch. I enjoyed watching him in college. He doesn’t have the name Johnny Football for nothing. I think he’s a great player.”

As for Sam, Johnson acknowledged the situation is much more complicated. Johnson highly respects Sam’s courage. But whether he’ll fit in with an NFL team remains to be determined.

“I don’t know. Everybody says what they would do or how they would react or whatever. But you don’t know until you’re in that position,” Johnson said. “As far as we know, he’s the first guy to come out and say it. You have to respect him a lot for that. Because it’s not like he’s being undercover with that or hiding something. The guy’s come out and said it is what it is. To me, I think you respect him more for that than anything, because he’s not hiding anything, he’s not pretending to be someone.”

The veteran wide receiver has barely had time to meet Bill O’Brien, the Texans’ new coach. Johnson said limitations set by the new collective bargaining agreement have initially prevented the two from speaking at length.

“I had a chance to sit down and talk with him once,” Johnson said. “It was a very short conversation.”
The first impression was positive, though.

“He seems like a great guy,” Johnson said. “He seems like he really loves the game of football. He’s very passionate about it. He’s all about team. I think all of those characteristics are great. We’ll just see what happens.”

While the Texans were the worst team in the NFL last season and the 32-year-old Johnson’s entering his 12th season, the seven-time Pro Bowler hasn’t given any thought to ending his career anytime soon.

“I know I’m not a second-, third-, or fourth-year guy. Everything comes to an end at some point,” said Johnson, who started all 16 games in 2013, recording 109 receptions for 1,407 yards and five touchdowns. “But right now I don’t know when it might end. I’m feeling fine. I’m feeling healthy. So I’m going to continue to play as long as I can.

“Everybody knows that day when it’s over. When that day comes, I’ll have no problem stepping away. But right now I feel fine. I feel like I still have a few more years left in me.”

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Andre Johnson: I would probably trade No. 1 overall pick

A lot of different people think the Houston Texans should do a lot of different things with the No. 1 overall pick in May's NFL Draft. Former Houston defensive coordinator Wade Phillips thinks the Texans should take Johnny Manziel.

Houston wide receiver Andre Johnson, who would presumably be catching passes from Johnny Football, doesn't agree with Phillips. If it were up to Johnson, he would trade the No. 1 overall pick.

"I have thought about different scenarios. Me personally, if I had it, I would probably trade it, but that's just my opinion," Johnson said on Wednesday, via ABC-13 in Houston.

Just because Johnson thinks the Texans should trade the pick doesn't mean the team should though. The wide receiver conceded that he's never had to deal with the pressures of draft day. "That doesn't make it right. Doesn't mean they should listen to me, because I am not the [general manager]," Johnson said. "I have never had to sit in the draft room like that."

Texans owner Bob McNair may end up taking Johnson's advice. In January, McNair talked about the possibility of trading the No. 1 overall pick, "Maybe we'll trade down and still get a quarterback that can do the job and get an outstanding defensive player," McNair said. "It's an exciting time. Everything's a moving target. Lot of different pieces."

As for what the Texans will actually do with the pick, guesses are all over the place right now. In his first 2014 mock draft, senior NFL columnist Pete Prisco has the Texans taking Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles. NFLDraftScout's Dane Brugler also has the Texans taking Bortles while Rob Rang, also of, has the Texans taking South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

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How does Andre Johnson stack up to HOFer Reed?

The ninth try was a charm for Andre Reed.

The former Bills receiver has been chosen as a Hall of Famer after being eligible for nine years. He was a finalist eight times. 

This -- after Cris Carter got in last year -- is probably a very good sign for Andre Johnson, who continues to play at a very high level after more than a decade.

Reed is the 23rd "modern era" wide receiver to make it into the Hall of Fame. And Johnson might very well join him one day, which would make him the first Texan enshrined.

Here's a look at how Johnson's numbers stack up to Reed's:

Reed: 16 seasons, 951 receptions, 13,198 yards, 87 touchdowns, seven Pro Bowls.

Johnson: 11 season, 927 receptions, 12,661 yards, 61 touchdowns, seven Pro Bowls.

Most of those numbers are already comparable and if Johnson has a few more seasons like the ones he's had recently, he'll crush the receptions and yards. But that's not all that matters. Aside from the obvious touchdown differential, Reed was a part of a team that went to four straight Super Bowls.

Johnson has been to the playoffs just twice and has never made it past the divisional round, which is a knock on him. But then again, he hasn't ever had a very good quarterback or talent around him. Do those two things cancel out?

Those things will be a part of the debate once Johnson is eligible. Should Johnson be punished for playing on an expansion team that hasn't been any good for most of his career? And should Reed be rewarded because he played on a very good team with a pretty darn good quarterback?

Those are the questions the Hall of Fame voters need to answer as they deliberate each year.

And this year, after a full work day of deliberation, the voters left off two other very strong receiver candidates: Tim Brown and Marvin Harrison. Here's a look at their stats:

Brown: 16 seasons, 1,094 receptions, 14,934 yards, 100 touchdowns, nine Pro Bowls.

Harrison: 13 seasons, 1,102 receptions, 14,580 yards, 128 touchdowns, eight Pro Bowls.

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Andre Johnson won’t play in Pro Bowl

Texans receiver Andre Johnson isn’t going to the Pro Bowl, and pro personnel director Brian Gardner is looking for a job.

One day after defensive end J.J. Watt was named as a captain in the Pro Bowl, Johnson withdrew, leaving the Texans with two representatives in Hawaii.

Johnson’s agent, Kennard McGuire, said his client withdrew because of “wear and tear” from the season. The wear and tear included a wrist injury that didn’t require surgery. Johnson was replaced by Philadelphia receiver DeSean Jackson.

Left tackle Duane Brown, who replaced Eagles offensive tackle Jason Peters last week, will join Watt at the Pro Bowl. It’s a second consecutive appearance for Brown and Watt.

Johnson, 32, was voted to the Pro Bowl for the seventh time in his 12-year career after catching 109 passes for 1,407 yards and five touchdowns. He started every game for the last two seasons.

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NFL Trade Rumors: Andre Johnson To Indianapolis Colts, San Francisco 49ers, Carolina Panthers or Patriots Possible?

The NFL offseason is still officially weeks away as the playoffs continue to shake themselves out and for the teams not in the postseason, their focus is on the moves to make and this year there could be an uptick in offseason trades and some possibilities include Andre Johnson or Justin Blackmon and some teams that could be interested includes Indianapolis Colts, San Francisco 49ers, Carolina Panthers and the New England Patriots.

All those teams have some type of issue at wide receiver and they all ranked in the bottom part of the league in receiving yards per game and that could make these deals interesting once the Super Bowl champions is crowned. There is a chance that Johnson's possible trade demands from the season will subside now that Bill O'Brien is head coach, but after losing 14 straight games on the season and dealing with a very tough year, Johnson may be ready to move on. The Texans are a team that could flip things around very quickly ala the Kansas City Chiefs and that would be something that could keep him in Houston.

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Andre Johnson & Chris Myers Named to All AFC South Team by ESPN

The odd thing about the Houston Texans' nine Pro Bowl selections last season was how under-represented the defense was. Seven of the nine Texans who went to Hawaii last season were offensive players, including quarterback Matt Schaub, who told me upon arrival that he was confident he could lead the Texans to the Super Bowl.

This year's All-AFC South team -- voted on by Jaguars reporter Mike DiRocco, Titans reporter Paul Kuharsky, Colts reporter Mike Wells and I -- has a similar tilt. Five Texans offensive players are represented -- receiver Andre Johnson, guard Wade Smith, center Chris Myers, left tackle Duane Brown and running back Ben Tate. Meanwhile, defensively only ends J.J. Watt and Antonio Smith made the cut. Texans punter Shane Lechler kept the special teams portion from being an all-Jaguars affair.

Click here to see the rest of the players named.

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Three proCanes Named To Pro Bowl Roster

Three Miami Hurricanes were among those named to the 2014 Pro Bowl, announced by the National Football League offices Wednesday.

Andre Johnson (Houston Texans) was the lone proCane AFC selection

San Francisco 49ers' running back Frank Gore, who recently marked his team-record seventh 1,000-yard season, was an NFC selection along with Saints TE Jimmy Graham.

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Andre Johnson a bright spot for terrible Texans

HOUSTON (AP) - Andre Johnson is having another great season for the Houston Texans.

The star receiver certainly isn’t celebrating it with the Texans mired in a franchise-record 13-game skid.

He told The Associated Press this week that dealing with another terrible season after already suffering through the lean times early in franchise history has taken the joy out of playing the game he loves.

”You don’t expect to go back through it,” said. “You think you’re past that stage as a team ... it is no fun at all.”

Despite his frustration with this year, Johnson has remained Houston’s most reliable leader.

”It’s amazing. Andre is just the consummate pro. He’s always positive,” interim coach Wade Phillips said. “He’s always making plays. It’s tremendous the number of plays he’s made ... that just says so much about him. And if you know him as a person, he’s even better.”

This has been the most painful season for Johnson because the Texans were coming off consecutive playoff appearances and were expected to contend for a Super Bowl. Instead, they need a win at Tennessee on Sunday to avoid matching their franchise-worst record of 2-14 from 2005.

If the Texans lose on Sunday, they will be guaranteed the top overall pick in April’s draft.

Johnson is the only player remaining on the team from the 2005 season. He has been with the Texans since their second season after being drafted third overall in the 2003 draft.

He went through four losing seasons with David Carr at quarterback before the Texans picked up Matt Schaub and the franchise began to turn around. The Texans won back-to-back AFC South titles and looked to take the next step this season.

But Schaub had the worst stretch of his career and was benched after six games in favor of Case Keenum.

But the losing continued with the undrafted, record-setting University of Houston quarterback running the offense. Now it looks like Johnson is likely to be catching passes from another quarterback next season.

Johnson isn’t spending time worrying about Houston’s quarterback situation, especially because the Texans don’t know who their coach will be in 2014 after Gary Kubiak’s recent firing.

”You just have to wait and see what happens,” he said. “You don’t necessarily know if it’s going to be a rookie quarterback or a veteran guy. We don’t even have a coach yet.”

Johnson is second in the NFL with 103 receptions in 2013 and his 1,358 yards receiving are fifth in the league. He tied an NFL record for most seasons with at least 100 receptions on Sunday, reaching the mark for the fifth time in his career.

This Sunday he has a shot at setting another NFL mark. Johnson needs 142 yards to become the first player in NFL history to have at least 100 receptions and 1,500 yards receiving in four seasons. This is Johnson’s seventh season with at least 1,000 yards receiving and he surpassed 12,000 yards for his career earlier this year.

”I think the ultimate goal is to win and win the championship,” Johnson said. “So I think the records and stuff like that is something you’ll look at once your career is over to see what you’ve accomplished since you’ve been in the league.”

Johnson will turn 33 this summer, raising the question how much longer he’ll be able to play at this level, and if time is running out for him to reach his goal of winning the Super Bowl. But this tough season hasn’t dampened his optimism that Houston will turn things around next year.

”You can make moves and put yourself into contention,” he said. “There are going to be some decisions made this offseason with the new coach and everything like that. Hopefully, as an organization, we’ll make some moves to put us in contention where we can go out and compete to hopefully win that Super Bowl.”

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Andre Johnson matches record w/100th catch

Andre Johnson joined Wes Welker in a two-man club on Sunday afternoon. The Texans' wide receiver caught his 100th pass of 2013, and it's the fifth season in which he's accomplished that feat. He and Welker are the only two players to ever do so in NFL history.

With 3:57 remaining in the first quarter, Johnson pulled in Matt Schaub's deep pass down the left sideline and gained 33 yards on the play. Johnson caught more than 100 passes last year, as well as in 2006, 2008 and 2009. His career-best in the category was 115 catches in 2008.

"It's all fine and dandy, but I only play the game for one reason: that's to win," Johnson said. "It's a great thing to have happen, but under these circumstances it really doesn't matter."

The 11-year veteran finished with four catches for 63 yards. Entering the final week of the season, Johnson has 103 receptions for 1,358 yards. He needs 142 yards crack the 1,500-yard milestone.

If Johnson were to eclipse that mark in 2013, it would be the fourth time for him to do so. He and Marvin Harrison are the only players to ever do it three times in a career. He had 1,598 receiving yards in 2012, and had 1,500 yards or more in 2008 and 2009.

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Andre Johnson ties NFL record with 5th 100-catch-season

HOUSTON (AP) Houston receiver Andre Johnson has reached 100 catches for the fifth time in his career, tying an NFL record for most seasons with at least that many receptions.

Johnson entered the game needing one catch to reach the mark held by Denver's Wes Welker. He did it on a 33-yard reception in the first quarter Sunday against the Broncos.

Johnson also had more than 100 receptions in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2012.

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Andre Johnson spends over $17K on holiday shopping spree for at-risk children

Houston Texans receiver Andre Johnson has a holiday tradition that beats going in debt, purchasing items for people who do not appreciate the gesture, or feeling guilty because you do not have enough money to purchase elaborate gifts.

For the seventh consecutive year, Johnson held his annual Toys “R” Us shopping spree for 12 at-risk children in Houston. They were given 80 seconds (Johnson wears No.80) to grab as many toys as possible.

Oh, but Johnson did not make the kids wait for a clerk to unlock that glass retail display case with those expensive gaming systems.
Instead, Johnson gave each child an Xbox 360 with two games.

What was the grand total for Johnson’s shopping spree?

Only $17,352.

“It just gives them a chance to go through the store and get whatever they want,” Johnson told reporters at the event. “They don’t have to ask nobody for it. Whatever they have on their Christmas list, they can pick-up, so that’s the reason why I do it.”

“It’s fun. It’s fun for the kids. It’s fun for me. It’s something I enjoy seeing every year. I just figure why not keep doing it.”

Each child chosen for the event has suffered through some sort of parental abuse and is now living with an extended family member. The shopping spree gives them a chance to get away from that reality and live the dream of every child - running through a toy store and grabbing whatever they want.

“It’s the holiday season,” Johnson said. “It’s a time for giving. People that know me know I have a big heart. I just like to give back and help people out.”

Johnson also reminds us what the holidays should be about for everyone.

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Record Setting Andre Johnson

On the NFL Network Thursday night it was pointed out that proCane Texans WR WR Andre Johnson averages 6 catches per game over his career, the highest average in #NFL history. Johnson had 13 catches for 154 yards in the Texans’ loss to the Jaguars.

Johnson also tied an #NFL record with his 10th game of 10 or more catches & 150 yards or more versus the Jaguars. Johnson tied the great Jerry Rice. Look for Johnson to break the record in the not so distant future.

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Andre Johnson should call Reggie Wayne this weekend

Thursday should have been a good night for Andre Johnson. The Texans receiver became the first player in NFL history to record 20 games with at least ten catches and 100 yards, but instead dealt mainly with the frustration of his team’s plunge from AFC South champions a year ago to 2-11 and potential recipients of the top overall pick in 2014.

He should call his college teammate this weekend.

When the Indianapolis Colts’ 2011 season fell apart due to a career-threatening injury to Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne soldiered through, amassing nearly a 1,000 yard season despite having to catch passes from the likes of Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky.

As the Colts’ 2-14 season came to a merciful end, Wayne was one of the few veteran constants left on the roster when a new coaching staff and franchise quarterback set up shop the following summer. Andrew Luck’s successful 2012 rookie season happened in part because from day one he had one of the best receivers in the NFL there to guide him along the way. It’s no coincidence that Luck’s 2013 passer rating has gone from 92.75 in his first seven games with Wayne to 71.96 in the past five games since his season-ending injury against Denver.

There’s likely a new coaching staff and franchise quarterback, whether that’s Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater or another elite college passer, on the way in Houston. Johnson, who is signed with the Texans through 2016, will soon have the opportunity to shepherd his team’s turnaround in the same way that his fellow Hurricane did.

One thing the 2012 Colts didn’t have in their rebuilding effort was one of the league’s best young defensive players in J.J. Watt. Add a healthy Arian Foster to the mix and it’s not hard to picture a similar upswing.

Johnson told reporters after Thursday’s game that he’s tired of losing. If the Texans can emulate their AFC South rivals, that won’t be a worry next year.

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Andre Johnson shatters more records in loss

Andre Johnson gave another record-breaking performance despite the Texans’ 11-game losing streak. In Thursday’s 27-20 loss to Jacksonville, Johnson caught 13 passes for 154 yards. It was the 20th game in Johnson’s career with a game of at least 10 catches and 100 yards receiving, for the most in NFL history. 

Johnson also tied Jerry Rice, whom he considers “the greatest receiver to ever play,” with the most games of at least 10 receptions and 150 yards. Johnson and Rice both did so ten times in their careers.

Johnson’s 100-yard performance against Jacksonville was his sixth this season and the 50th of his career, which ties him with Don Maynard for the fifth-most in league history.

Johnson caught just 2-of-4 passes for 14 yards in the first half. When asked what he did differently in the second half to catch the bulk of his passes, Johnson’s response was simple.

“I didn’t do anything differently,” Johnson said. “I just had more opportunities and tried to make plays when they came my way.”

Johnson ranks as the Texans' all-time leading receiver with 900 receptions for 12,377 yards and 61 touchdowns in 11 eleven seasons. Last week he became the second-fastest player in NFL history to reach 900 receptions, doing so in 150 games.

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Stopping Andre Johnson again not easy

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Houston receiver Andre Johnson is third in the NFL with 82 receptions.

The Jaguars are only responsible for two.

Johnson managed just two catches for 36 yards in the Jaguars' 13-6 victory over the Texans in Houston on Nov. 24. That success, however, doesn't mean anything when the teams meet again on Thursday night at EverBank Field.

"You definitely throw it out," cornerback Dwayne Gratz said. "You feel good about it for a little bit but it's a new game. He has more chances to go out there and make plays, so we've still got to do our job."

The Jaguars limited Johnson by making sure they knew where he was at all times. They play almost exclusively man coverage and cornerback Alan Ball drew Johnson most of the game. He was rarely alone, though. He had safety help over the top and a player without coverage responsibilities sliding over to help on shorter routes.

Another factor was the pass rush. The Jaguars got good pressure on Case Keenum, sacking him twice and hitting him five other times. They also broke up nine passes, including a big hit on Johnson by safety Winston Guy.

All Johnson could manage was a 15-yard catch on third-and-6 early in the third quarter and a 21-yarder on third-and-4 on the Texans' final drive.

"I think the first meeting they came in and had a great plan defensively and they did a great job of executing," Johnson said. "You have to give them credit. … I think when we played them last time we never got into rhythm as an offense."

Ball said the Jaguars will change some of the things they did in coverage because it would be foolish to expect the same things to work again. The Texans will obviously make adjustments to get Johnson more involved, too, like he was against New England last Sunday when he caught eight passes for 121yards.

But the thing that will stay the same is making the linebackers and defensive backs know where Johnson is at every moment.

"We're just going to go out and execute like it's the first time we're playing them and come with a new game plan and new strategy for just trying to limit his touches and limit his effectiveness," Ball said. "We know they're going to try to get him the ball. He's coming off a strong week last week so we expect carryover from that.

"But everybody on the defense has to be aware of where he's at and know how they're trying to attack you with his alignment. I think everybody needs to be on the same page and focused in on that."

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Andre Johnson reaches career milestone Sunday

Andre Johnson is now the second-fastest player in NFL history to reach 900 career receptions. Johnson was eight catches away from the career milestone heading into Sunday's game against New England reached 900 with his final catch of the game, a 15-yard catch in the fourth quarter.

"It's big," Johnson said after the game. "You play this game and have a childhood dream of just making it to the NFL. I never came into the NFL saying that I wanted to have 900 catches. I just said that I wanted to be a good football player. It's humbling. It just shows that the work you put into the game is paying off."

Johnson recorded 900 career receptions in 150 games. He is second behind only Marvin Harrison, the fastest player to do so, who reached 900 catches in just 149 games.

"I was able to get to see Marvin a lot because we played in the same division," Johnson said. "He's one of my favorite guys to watch play. To be in a class with him is a great feeling."

Rookie DeAndre Hopkins, who called the achievement "unbelievable," commended the All-Pro veteran on his ability to make big plays each week.

"The guy is a true leader on and off the field," Hopkins said. "I look up to him. Even when I wasn't playing for the Texans, he was my favorite player so it is an honor to be right next to him."

Johnson caught eight passes for 121 yards in Sunday's 34-31 loss to New England. He currently leads the Texans with 1123 receiving and five touchdowns through 12 games.

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Andre Johnson Admits Texans Are Worst Team in NFL After Dropping Ninth Straight, Adds ‘We Suck’

After Houston dropped their ninth straight game, Andre Johnson was in no mood to sugarcoat his thoughts on his team’s struggles.

Between the Texans’ quarterback shuffle and the team drawing boos from their own fans, things have gone from bad to worse for the team that jumped out to a 2-0 start to the season.

Failing to notch another victory since then, however, frustration has continued to build in Houston and after handing the Jaguars their second win of the season on Sunday, Johnson voiced his displeasure in a very candid, succinct manner.

“We suck,” Johnson said. “As an offense. That’s pretty much it.” The wide receiver hauled in only two catches on the day while Case Keenum threw for just 169 yards with an interception.

It was a poor showing for the Texans, once again, and Johnson didn’t hold back when asked if they were the worst team in the NFL. “I think our record shows it,” he said. “Yeah, if you look at our record, yeah, we’re the worst team.”

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Andre Johnson inches towards another career milestone

Receiver Andre Johnson needed 10 catches against Jacksonville to tie him with Marvin Harrison for the fastest to 900 in NFL history. Johnson had 2 catches for 36 yards.

Harrison reached 900 receptions in 149 games. Johnson has played in 148. Johnson is guaranteed of being the second-fastest. Torry Holt needed 165 games to catch 900 passes.
Johnson (137 games) was the second-fastest to 700 behind Harrison (131).

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Andre Johnson & Chris Myers Respond To Reed’s Comments

After being asked about Reed’s comments, several Texans players responded.

“I’m all about my team,” said defensive end J.J. Watt. “And I would assume he’s worried about his. I guess if he wants to continue talking about us that’s fine.”

Before his stint with the Texans, Reed was teammates with Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson and center Chris Myers at the Universityicon1 of Miami. They weighed in as well.

“People have feelings. People feel certain ways,” Johnson told SportsRadio 610. “Maybe that’s something he felt when he was here. Other than that, I can’t really speak on it.”

Myers wouldn’t respond to Reed’s comments, but he backed his coaches play-calling.

“I played with Ed in college. And I’ve done it for a long time. He’s a great guy and a quality player,” Myers told SportsRadio 610. “He’s going to probably be a hall of fame player. But when it comes to the play-calling, leave it up to the coaches. And you know, whatever play they call, as long as we run it perfect it’s supposed to work.”

Despite his lack of production, Myers was happy the Texans brought the future Hall of Fame safety aboard:

“He’s a quality player. A much respected player in this league for a long time. And for any team to be able to get him is a huge asset,” said Myers. “Obviously it didn’t work out here, but he’s trying to make his due up in New York now. For us, it was a great chance to be able to have him and be a part of our defense. It just didn’t pan out. It was great having him while we did though.”

Reed will make his second homecoming to Baltimore this season Sunday, this time with the New York Jets. He was released by the Texans last Tuesday.

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Andre Johnson on staying a Texan: 'I'm under contract'

Andre Johnson dismissed his heated, late-game argument with Matt Schaub after the Houston Texans lost 28-23 to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

At 2-8, the Texans' season is forked, and a coaching change likely is on the horizon. Johnson was asked if he'd want to stick around Houston for a rebuild.

"I'm under contract, so I have to play my contract out," Johnson said, per "I can't do anything about that."

Johnson is signed through 2016.

The 11-year NFL veteran spent his first seven seasons wallowing on terrible and mediocre Texans teams before even earning a winning record. After making the playoffs the last two seasons, Houston was supposed to contend this season for a Super Bowl. Instead, it has lost eight consecutive games.

Changes are coming, but 32-year-old Johnson said he doesn't plan to ask for a trade.

"I've always said this is where I wanted to be, so I don't really have anything to say about that," Johnson said. "I still have an ongoing contract."

This was not how Johnson envisioned the twilight of his spectacular career. He still is one of the most productive NFL receivers when given opportunities. It would be a shame if he got swallowed in another rebuild.

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Andre Johnson is justifiably perturbed

HOUSTON -- "I messed up, I'll leave it at that," Andre Johnson said with a tired-looking smile following the Houston Texans' eighth consecutive loss.

He was talking about the Texans' final offensive play of the game, one that sparked a heated discussion between he and quarterback Matt Schaub. Schaub entered the game late in the third quarter after Texans coach Gary Kubiak benched Case Keenum. After jawing at each other, Johnson walked off the field, away from Schaub.

Johnson said this emphatically after the game: "Matt and I are fine."

He added that he and Schaub talked more in the locker room after they'd each cooled off. Schaub echoed that the two players had no problem with each other.

Players get into it with each other and even coaches on the field sometimes. They get frustrated. They yell. They wave their arms around sometimes. But Johnson's actions were just one sign of mounting frustration for the best player in franchise history.

Johnson slogged through five losing seasons to start his career and didn't have a winning season until his eighth year in the NFL, when the Texans went 9-7. His team finally made the playoffs in 2011 and 2012. With consecutive playoff seasons and a roster that seemed to be getting only better, Johnson thought the days of losing were behind him. Asked last week how tough this season has been, he said it was the most frustrating he has been through because of the expectations.

Now the Texans are 2-8, on a franchise record eight-game losing streak.

"I'm under contract, so I have to play my contract out," Johnson said, when asked if he was happy playing for the Texans moving forward. "I can't do anything about that."

Once more, he was asked if he would be willing to go through more losing seasons as he had before.

"I've always said this is where I wanted to be, so I don’t really have anything to say about that," Johnson said. "I still have an ongoing contract."

It was noted to Johnson that he could ask for a trade.

"Yeah, they can," he said. "I don’t know. I never asked for a trade. Did you hear anything about that?"

His contract goes through the 2016 season, and it's one that has been reworked repeatedly to help alleviate salary cap issues.

He isn't going to ask for a trade, that's just not who Johnson is. But his frustration at this season is completely understandable. Johnson doesn't have another 10 years to be patient through another rebuild. He has never looked elsewhere, he has never even reached free agency. He's stuck with a team, believing in its plan, and now that plan is crumbling.

Is he the same player he was five years ago? No. But last week's two acrobatic touchdowns and the previous week's three touchdowns showed Johnson is still a top-tier receiver, having adjusted to what he does well now.

When Johnson came to Houston, he joined a struggling expansion team looking for an identity. He has already been through one additional rebuild here. It would be a shame if his career ended with another rebuild, on a team that's once again searching for an identity.

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Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson have heated exchange at end of Texans’ close loss to Raiders (Video)

In the latest edition of quarterback-receiver arguments on Texas-based NFL teams, embattled Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub was involved in a shouting match with All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson at the end of the team’s 28-23 loss to the Oakland Raiders.

The Texans had a third-and-1 from the Oakland two-yard-line with 1:28 remaining, but failed to get the go-ahead touchdown when Schaub missed Johnson, who was covered by multiple Raiders defenders, on a fourth-down throw into the end zone.

When the offense came off the field, Schaub and Johnson were seen jawing at each other until people stepped in to separate the teammates. Johnson turned around and walked off the field while the Raiders were kneeling down to kill the clock.


According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, Johnson was also seen getting frustrated with Schaub late in the fourth quarter when the QB didn’t see him open in the secondary.

Schaub, the Texans starter who was injured last month, replaced Sunday’s starter Case Keenum late in the third quarter. He downplayed the incident with Johnson after the game.

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In defeat, Andre Johnson shines with 2 scores

He only finished with 37 receiving yards, but Andre Johnson still managed to produce a pair of “wow” moments during Sunday’s loss at Arizona.

With 5:55 left in the opening quarter, Johnson pulled down a 7-yard Case Keenum pass and tapped both feet in bounds on the right sideline for a score. With 4:34 remaining in regulation, he went up and reeled in a deflection off Arizona’s Patrick Peterson, again bringing both feet down in bounds for a score.

“Those were two of the best catches I’ve ever seen in my life,” Keenum said. “Those were incredible. I can’t even describe it. You have to watch it to see how awesome those catches are.”

Interim head coach Wade Phillips took it a step further.

“How terrific is he?” Phillips said. “He can make fantastic plays. That’s why he’s going to be a Hall of Famer one of these days. He’s such a tremendous competitor, not just ability, but he’s a great competitor. I’m glad we’ve got him on our team.”

For Johnson, though, it was just a matter of taking advantage of a pair of chances Keenum gave him.

“I always just try to make the best of my opportunities,” Johnson said. “He gave me an opportunity with the ball. I was able to make the plays on them.”

All touchdowns are reviewed with instant replay, and the officials took a little extra time making sure Johnson’s feet were in bounds. Whether or not he scored was never in question for Johnson.

“I knew my feet were in,” Johnson said. “That’s something I work on a lot, keeping my feet inbounds when I make catches. I never had any doubt about it.”

On the day, Johnson was targeted 12 times by Keenum, and he came down with five receptions. His longest was a 14-yarder early in the second quarter, and that drive would result in a Keenum to Ryan Griffin 2-yard scoring strike. Johnson was covered by third-year cornerback Patrick Peterson, who was highly complimentary of the Texans’ pass-catcher.

“The thing all great receivers have in common is the will to get the ball,” Peterson said. “Having great body control, strong hands, and field awareness, as you saw today.”

For Johnson, though, the two scores weren’t enough to overcome the sting of the team’s seventh consecutive loss. And despite falling to 2-7, Johnson was focused on helping the team get back in the win column.

“We put ourselves in this position,” Johnson said. “There’s no reason to sit around and whine about it. Nothing we can do about it now. We just have to look forward to the games ahead and try to win as many as we can.”

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Andre Johnson with incredible TD catch (GIF)

It’s no secret that Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson is one of the best in the game. That still doesn’t mean that we don’t enjoy it every time that he shows off that ability, like he did just moments ago in the game against the Arizona Cardinals.

The Texans were down 27-17 with time winding down in the fourth quarter. At the Cardinals five-yard line, the Texans decided to utilize the growing chemistry between new QB Case Keenum and Johnson.

Being so close to the end zone, they decided to call a jump ball to Johnson, which he turned into one of the more amazing plays of the day thus far:


It is absolutely insane sometimes how easy Johnson makes plays like these look. He was able to literally just rip the ball away from the defender who had tremendous coverage on him.

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proCanes James Jones, Lamar Thomas, Andre Johnson, Clinton Portis headline 2014 UM Sports Hall of Fame inductees

Current Texans receiver Andre Johnson and Hurricanes football greats Clinton Portis and Lamar Thomas headline the UM Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014.

All eight members will be formally introduced at halftime of Miami’s home finale against Virginia on Saturday, Nov. 23.

The Class of 2014 also includes Heat forward James Jones (basketball, 1999-2003), Jeff Morrison (baseball, 1978-81), Wyllesheia Myrick (track, 1998-2002), Rio Ramirez (diving, 1997-99) and Javy Rodriguez (baseball, 1999-2002).

The University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame was founded in 1966 by eight Dade County Circuit Court judges, who wanted to establish an organization that would recognize those student-athletes, coaches and administrators who excelled at their sport and brought acclaim to the University of Miami through achievements and championships.

With the addition of the eight newest members, the Sports Hall of Fame will increase to 282 honorees. The eight-member class will be inducted at the 46th annual UMSHoF Induction Banquet, which will be held April 10, 2014.

For more information on the banquet, fans can visit or call 305-284-2775.

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Andre Johnson has big game for Texans

Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson came up huge for his team and for fantasy owners on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. Johnson caught nine passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns, though it wasn't enough to lift them past the Colts, who won 27-24.

Johnson accounted for all of Houston's touchdown production, and was crucial in Case Keenum having a strong game. He out-performed everybody else in the game, and has catapulted himself into the top five of receiving yardage for wide receivers in the league.

He comes in at No. 4, behind A.J. Green, DeSean Jackson and Calvin Johnson, and is just ahead of New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham. He's one of the better receivers in the league, but had come up short of 100-plus yards over the past three games.

Fantasy Impact: Johnson needed to have a big game, given that the Texans have been so poor lately. They're 2-6 on the season, with Johnson being one of the lone bright spots. He's as big a must-start as there is at wide receiver at this point. Fantasy owners have to be happy with his performance.

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Andre Johnson practices

Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson (shin) was able to practice on a limited basis Wednesday, Oct. 16.

Fantasy Tip: More will be known on Johnson's status later in the week. Johnson might be playing without starting QB Matt Schaub (ankle, foot), and the QB situation, coupled with facing a strong Kansas City Chiefs defense, makes him useful only as a low-end WR2 or must-start WR3 in most formats.

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Chris Myers, Andre Johnson promote unity in midst of skid

The Texans’ record is falling apart. But key offensive starters were adamant Wednesday the team’s chemistry remains intact, and a 2-4 squad is mentally preparing for a critical road game at Kansas City on Sunday.

“It’s the way it has to be: strong character on this team,” center Chris Myers said. “The older guys are bringing along the younger guys and understanding that when that kind of stuff starts happening, the team starts separating. All you can do right now is stay together.”

Receiver Andre Johnson was among several players who said the team had a strong practice Wednesday and is ready to put its frustrating four-game skid in the past.

“You would think guys would be walking around mad at each other or just down, but everybody is just talking about getting out of this funk. That’s a great thing,” Johnson said. “Guys are still able to keep a positive energy around here.”

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Andre Johnson: Cheering Matt Schaub's injury not right

The Houston Texans thought last week's blowout loss in San Francisco was rock bottom. They had no clue.

Matt Schaub hurt his ankle Sunday during an ugly 38-13 loss to the St. Louis Rams. The ugliest, most memorable moment came courtesy of the home crowd.

After booing Schaub during the game, Texans fans cheered when he went down with an injury. Backup quarterback T.J. Yates also got a rousing ovation when he entered the game.

"No class," Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson said of his home crowd after the game, via NFL Media's Jeff Darlington. "It's bad when members of the other team are saying that's messed up. No class."

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Andre Johnson likely to be a game-time decision

The last thing the Texans offense needs right now is something else to go wrong, but they may be facing a Week Six date with the Rams without wide receiver Andre Johnson.

Johnson is suffering from a hamstring injury that kept him out of practice on Wednesday and coach Gary Kubiak said that he missed the bulk of Thursday’s session as well. Kubiak went on to say that he thinks Johnson will likely be a game-time decision for the game against the Rams.

While rookie DeAndre Hopkins has had his moments through the first five weeks, the prospect of playing without Johnson has to be a scary one for the Texans. Tight end Owen Daniels is already out and quarterback Matt Schaub’s dismal play of late has been very well documented. Even having a limited Johnson on the field to occupy the attention of the St. Louis defense would be a plus for Houston in a week where they really need things to go as easily as possible for their offense.

Johnson last missed a Texans game in Week 16 of the 2011 season.

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Andre Johnson limited in Texans’ practice

Andre Johnson is still dealing with a shin bruise he received during a Week 3 matchup at Baltimore.

Johnson caught nine passes for 110 yards last Sunday during an overtime home loss against Seattle. He was limited in practice Thursday, but part of the restraint was based upon his normal rest pattern.

“His leg’s still sore,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said at Reliant Stadium. “He moved around a little bit (Wednesday). Took a little bit (Thursday). Just working through the soreness and also kind of part of the protocol we follow with him.”

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Andre Johnson: I don't care what fans think

It was a rough day to be a fan of the Houston Texans. The Texans blew a 20-3 halftime lead against Seattle and ended up losing to the Seahawks 23-20 in overtime.

One of the biggest plays in the game came in the fourth quarter when Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman picked off Texans quarterback Matt Schaub. Sherman returned the interception 58-yards for a touchdown, tying the game at 20 with 2:40 left in the fourth quarter.

As you can imagine, the fans at Reliant Stadium in Houston weren't too thrilled with Schaub's pick, so they started to boo him. It wasn't just Schaub that was getting booed either, the fans booed the entire offense on the Texans next offensive possession.

Houston wide receiver Andre Johnson doesn't seem to mind being booed because he doesn't care what the fans think.

"Fans are going to be fans," Johnson said, via "You have some that are loyal. You have some that are fair-weather, and they only come around when you win. I've been here when it was 2-14 and there was hardly anybody in the stands, so I really don't care about what fans think. A lot of them don't understand what players go through. They can talk about what they want to talk about."

It's probably a good thing that Johnson doesn't really 'care about what fans think' because some might not like him after reading his comments and some might even boo him. Although they might not boo him because he's the Texans leading receiver. Johnson led all players in the game on Sunday with nine catches for 110 yards.

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Andre Johnson returns to practice

The Texans got wide receiver Andre Johnson back at practice on Thursday, but they’re no closer to determining his status for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks.

Johnson was a limited participant in practice, sticking to just individual drills and sitting out team work a day after he wasn’t able to practice at all. John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports that Kubiak said that the Texans are still considering Johnson a game-time decision for Sunday.

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Andre Johnson hauling in decent stats despite injury issues

Even though he’s been forced to leave the last two games with concussion and leg injuries, receiver Andre Johnson is averaging 8.3 catches during the Texans’ 2-1 start.

Johnson, 32, has 25 receptions for 258 yards. He has 45 100-yard games in his career, more than any active receiver. He’s tied for 10th on the NFL’s career list.

Johnson, who has a  bruised shin but is expected to play against Seattle on Sunday,  has 13 games left in regular season.  He needs five more to surpass Isaac Bruce (45), Jimmy Smith (46), Michael Irvin (47) and Torry Holt (47).

Fifty 100-yard games would tie Johnson with Don Maynard.

Jerry Rice is the all-time leader with 76.

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Andre Johnson ‘sore,’ hopes to play Sunday

Veteran wide receiver Andre Johnson (shin bruise) is still dealing with soreness and will likely be a game-time decision Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, coach Gary Kubiak said.

Johnson did not practice Wednesday. He exited a road loss Sunday to Baltimore and didn’t finish his second consecutive game.

“We’ll see where we’re at (Thursday),” Kubiak said.

Despite the soreness, Kubiak hinted Johnson will likely play against the Seahawks.

“I think Andre’s going to do everything he can to be there,” Kubiak said. “He is very sore (Wednesday). So we’ll let it run its course and see how he’s feeling.”

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Andre Johnson Day-To-Day

Houston (CBS Houston) - For the second straight week Andre Johnson was unable to finish a game.  Johnson was taken out of Sunday’s 30 to 9 loss with a leg injury. After the game, Johnson specified he had sustained a bruised shin and would undergo an MRI.

Luckily for the Texans, the tests were negative, it’s a shin bruise.

“He did come out okay. All of the x-rays were fine so it’s just a matter of working him back through it. It will probably be a day to day process.” Gary Kubiak said Monday.

Kubiak didn’t specify whether or not  Johnson will play this weekend but after the game the wideout seemed optimistic.

“As far as right now, I plan on playing.”  said Johnson after the 30 to 9 loss in Baltimore.

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Andre Johnson frustrated after early exit due to injury

Texans receiver Andre Johnson didn’t want to leave his team in Week 2, but a concussion forced him off the field.

A shin bruise got the best of Johnson on Sunday during the Texans’ 30-9 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.

Johnson, 32, again didn’t want to leave the contest. But a hobbling receiver who was limping after the game realized the Texans were better off without him.

“Very, very frustrating,” said Johnson, who caught five passes for 36 yards. “You kind of just go back and forth with the coaches, trying to tell them you’re OK, hoping that it feels better. I know that if I would’ve went out there, I couldn’t play the way that I’m capable of playing. And you see the film, I’m out there limping around.”

Johnson said it was too soon to determine whether he’ll be available in Week 4 against Seattle at Reliant Stadium. X-rays taken at halftime were negative.

“I watched him the first play,” coach Gary Kubiak said. “We threw the ball the first play, and I wanted to see him run. I did not think he could run the way he needs to to play, so we took him out.”

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Andre Johnson looks likely to play Sunday

Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson is reportedly in the final stage of the NFL league concussion protocol, according to the team's official website. That final stage involves practicing with pads. The receiver's quick progression means the team is optimistic he will be ready to play in Houston's game Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.

"If today's an indicator," head coach Gary Kubiak said Wednesday, "then we should be there tomorrow," saying that he is hopeful Johnson will be able to play.

Johnson was injured Sunday late in the fourth quarter, when Tennessee Titans safety Bernard Pollard hit him while making a catch near the end zone. Johnson left the game after holding on to the catch, and Pollard was fined $42,000 for the hit.

Fantasy impact: Johnson has caught 20 of his 29 targets so far this season for 222 yards, though he has yet to notch a touchdown. The 32-year-old is still easily the Texans' best passing option, though rookie DeAndre Hopkins has impressed so far as well.

When it looked like Johnson might miss Sunday, Hopkins' stock was rising. With this news that the star receiver could very likely play in Week 3, Hopkins' value probably levels off around that of a flex receiver. Johnson, meanwhile, is a must-start, assuming he does take the field.

Concussions are dicey propositions, of course, so owners need to keep a close eye on Johnson's situation. But for now, it looks good for him.

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Andre Johnson 'should be ready to go' despite concussion

LaronByrd 2
Arizona Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts and Michael Floyd comprise a solid top three. LaRon Byrd and Kerry Taylor are the only other receivers on the roster. First-year coach Bruce Arians has said receiver is one position he doesn't worry about. Floyd's continued development after an encouraging finish to the 2012 season will be important. The former coaching staff envisioned moving Roberts to the slot, with Fitzgerald and Floyd on the perimeter. That could still happen. Arians also plans to move Fitzgerald around the formation the way he moved Reggie Wayne in Indianapolis last season. Drafting a receiver for depth would make sense, but there's no need to chase one early. The Cardinals released veteran Early Doucet, who struggled with drops last season.

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Week 2 NFL proCane Photos

proCane Texans WR Andre Johnson (80)
Bears proCane KR Devin Hester (23)
proCane Falcons P Mat Bosher
proCane Colts WR Reggie Wayne (87)
proCane Browns WR Travis Benjamin (80)
proCane Cardinals DE Calais Campbell (93)

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Andre Johnson making progress

Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said WR Andre Johnson (concussion) is making progress in his recovery from a concussion. Kubiak said the team will determine his status at the end of the week because he has to go through the concussion protocol.

Fantasy Tip: Johnson will have to pass several tests before he receives clearance to play after his concussion. Owners will have to monitor the situation to see if he is cleared to play Week 3.

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Andre Johnson faces detailed process under NFL concussion protocol

When Texans receiver Andre Johnson disappeared from the playing field Sunday at Reliant Stadium, he entered the mysterious world of the NFL’s “concussion protocol,” which includes several layers of tests and exams that players must pass before they can return to play — and even then, only after they are cleared to do so by an independent neurological professional.

There are some new elements this year, and they begin with the system used to monitor players during games and the manner in which they are assessed for possible concussions, said Dr. Kenneth Podell, a neuropsychologist who is co-director of the Methodist Concussion Center.

Watching from above
At each game, Dr. Podell said, there is now an “eye in the sky” observer who scans the field looking for players who may require assessment for a concussion.
“Did somebody stumble when they got up, or is there something about their behavior on the sideline?” he said. “The observer can send an FYI down to the team, or they can send a video clip to the sideline in real time to be checked out.”

In cases such as the hit Sunday by Titans safety Bernard Pollard on Johnson, teams don’t require an observer to tell them a player needs assessment. Beginning this year, players in those cases are assessed by an independent neurological observer. There is one on each sideline, assigned by the league but not affiliated with the team.

“The NFL has a formal document called the Standardized Concussions Assessment Tool, which has been modified to focus on orientation, memory, concentration, balance and symptoms,” Dr. Podell said. “They will do a neurological exam, and if a concussion is determined, the player will be removed from competition.”

The SCAT, a copy of which is available at, informs professionals that a “conservative, safety-first approach should be adopted” in such exams. Exams, which require 10 to 15 minutes, can be administered on the field or in a quieter location, and results are compared with each player’s preseason baseline test.

Any of six physical criteria, including loss of consciousness, amnesia and confusion, can result in a player’s being barred from further play. Five additional questions are designed to help determine if a player has suffered more serious brain trauma.

Players also are administered a 65-point exam that includes the month, date and year, the venue, who scored the most recent touchdown, the team’s previous opponent and the outcome of that game. One test requires a player to recall a list of words, and another requires him to repeat a list of numbers. He also must answer a list of symptoms, including “don’t feel right” and feeling “in a fog.”

Any player diagnosed with a concussion must be escorted to the locker room or training room for observation and cannot return to the field under any circumstances under league rules. After the game, it is determined whether he can return home and under what circumstances.

Long path to field
The return-to-play path can begin one to two days after the game. Players are evaluated using elements of the SCAT and monitored to determine when they are back to normal without return of symptoms, followed by another round of cognitive tests.

According to guidelines from the NFL’s head, neck and spine committee, “Once symptoms have subsided, players submit once again to the standard baseline testing, plus the 30-45 minutes required to complete more advanced versions. Sometimes there is additional testing with the neuropsychologist. Even then, there are no pass-fail grades, only additional data for doctors to interpret.”

Physical tests as well
If a player shows progress on his tests, he can be cleared for return to physical activity.

“It’s a gradual increase in exercise intensity,” Dr. Podell said. “We start with cardio, advance to intense cardio with weight lifting and position-specific drills. If athletes continue to be symptom-free, they advance to the next stage.”

NFL regulations, he said, allow a player to complete up to two stages each day. A player might be allowed light cardio activity in the morning, for example, and moderate activity that afternoon.

Further stages include a return to non-contact drills, contact drills and, eventually, a return to the playing field. But even after a player is cleared by the team doctor, he must be evaluated by an independent concussion expert approved by the NFL and NFL Players Association.

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Andre Johnson will eventually have to consider a pay cut

We’ve gotten a look at the money-shifting restructuring signed earlier this week by Texans receiver Andre Johnson.  While the more immediate reality is that the deal created $4.125 million in 2013 cap space for the Texans, the deal now sets the stage for a tough decision as soon as 2014.

The conversion of $4.5 million in base salary and a $1 million roster bonus to a signing bonus simply pushes an extra $4.125 million into future years, at a rate of $1.375 million for each of the next three seasons.  It increases Johnson’s cap number in 2014 to $12.1 million and in 2015 to a whopping $16.1 million.

With the salary cap staying fairly flat and the free-agency market currently depressed, the 32-year-old Johnson’s skills likely will at some point intersect with the financial commitment, compelling Johnson to take less in order to stay on the team.

Maybe Johnson will do it in order to stay with the only team for which he’s ever played.  Either way, the bridge will need to be crossed at some point in the next two years.

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Texans' Andre Johnson hones interview craft, too

HOUSTON -- Andre Johnson isn't widely known as a media darling. He doesn't seek the spotlight off the field. He doesn't always come across on television because he speaks softly. Reporters who covered him in college remember him as a shy guy who tended to mumble. On a team full of stars, Johnson wasn't sought after when he was eligible to speak.

Somewhere along the way, the Houston Texans' star receiver realized his role had changed.

It's made him one of the most professional and best interviews on the team. That isn't always the case with superstars, especially one with his longevity (he's entering his 11th NFL season).

"I just think you have to be careful about what you say," Johnson told me after one of the Texans' preseason games. "Sometimes certain things shouldn't be said, and sometimes things need to be said. I just think because in the media, sometimes your words can get twisted up."

He doesn't see his thoughtfulness as a favor, rather as a way to make sure he is represented properly.

Teams are allowed to limit one or two players to one interview a week, but Johnson never hides behind that, rarely declining if asked.

I've never heard Johnson snap at someone or be even close to rude. Not letting words bother him is something he's honed on the field. In fact, when Johnson fought with then-Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan in 2010, the incident surprised players around the league because it was so out of character for him. His professionalism off the field translates on it, too.

"I'm not going to go back and forth with you; I gotta play the game," Johnson said. "You want to talk all game, I'll go out there and have 10, 11 catches, and X amount of yards. You can keep talking, but you look bad. The more you talk to me, the more damage I'm going to do to you on the field."

He's made a decent career of coming through on that promise.

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Andre Johnson restructures Texans contract to facilitate Brian Cushing deal

For the third straight year, Andre Johnson restructured his contract to create salary cap space for the Texans. Houston reworked Johnson's deal on Tuesday, in order to create enough room for Brian Cushing's six-year extension.

Johnson was set to earn a base salary of $10.5 million this season, but he and the Texans agreed to a deal that reduced his base salary to $5 million with the other $5.5 million converted to bonuses, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. The Texans and Johnson agreed to similar deals in each of the past two seasons, reducing his base salary and converting the difference into a bonus.

Although the latest restructure will help Houston in the short term, it could have an impact on Johnson's long-term standing with the team. Joel Corry, a salary cap expert for National Football Post and former agent, said Johnson could eventually become candidate for release because each restructure raises his future cap numbers.

Johnson's salary cap numbers aren't likely to be a factor as long as he remains productive. However, at 32 years old, he could begin to decline soon, at which point his cap number may be too high for Houston to justify or manage.

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Andre Johnson made it clear: he's ready

Andre Johnson doesn't talk much on the field and he speaks quietly off it.

Often, the wide receiver lets his play speak for him, as was the case Sunday afternoon in the Houston Texans' third preseason game.

"You definitely try to send a message that you're ready to go," the receiver said. "I think by going out and showing guys that you're ready to go, that makes them step their game up. That's what I try to do. I'm not a big rah-rah guy. I just try to lead by example. When I'm out on the field, whether it's 10 plays or 70 plays I'm going to give everything I got. So that's what I did."

Things went about as well as they could have for Johnson in Sunday's preseason game against the New Orleans Saints. He was a beacon of consistency on an offense that stalled at times during the Texans' 31-23 loss. Johnson caught seven passes for 131 yards in one half of play.

Johnson sometimes offhandedly mentions that people thought he was washed up last season, a season in which he caught a career high 1,598 yards. He didn't after Sunday's game, but he brought it up last week when asked about outsiders' opinions about the Texans.

So was he trying to send message to his teammates or the rest of the league?

"It don't matter," Johnson said, smiling.

Message sent (to whomever).

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Ed Reed post-Super Bowl text to Andre Johnson: 'Get me to Houston'

After the Baltimore Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII in February over the 49ers, safety Ed Reed wasn't thinking about going to Disney World or Bourbon Street, he was thinking about going somewhere else: Houston.

How do we know that? Because Reed admitted it on Tuesday.

Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson sent Reed a congratulatory text after the Ravens 34-31 win over San Francisco and well, let's let Reed tell the rest of the story.

"Andre just said congratulations," Reed said, via "He said congratulations and it was more my comment to him."

What exactly was Reed's comment to Johnson?

"Get me to Houston," Reed said he responded.

For someone playing on a team that just won a Super Bowl, that's an interesting response.

Reed's comments would seem to insinuate he didn't want to be in Baltimore anymore, which is interesting because the feeling seemed to be mutual. Less than two weeks after Ed Reed signed with the Texans in March, a report surfaced claiming that Baltimore coach John Harbaugh didn't want Reed back. However, the Ravens would later deny that Harbaugh felt that way.

The bottom line here seems to be: Reed wanted to be in Houston and now he is. So does he think his new team can win the Super Bowl?

"The pieces are here but we still have a long way to go,” he said. “The Super Bowl is a long way from now and we still have a lot of work in training camp. This is only the first week. We still have a long way to go, still have a lot to learn."

Reed may have wanted out of Baltimore, but he'll still be going back soon. The Texans go on the road to play the Ravens in Week 3 of the regular season.

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Andre Johnson, Chris Myers all for HGH testing

The NFL and the NFL Players Association are doing a study they believe will lead to testing for human growth hormone. Players are required to give blood when they report. The league and union are trying to see how many test positive before they implement the testing program.

“I’m all for it,” wide receiver Andre Johnson said. “I’m for it. I’m not taking anything, so I really don’t care. Whatever they need to do to stay on top of guys and make sure the game is played the right way, I’m all for it.”

Center Chris Myers agreed.

“To be perfectly honest with you, I couldn’t care less,” Myers said. “I don’t take it. I don’t know who does take it. I have never met a guy who has admitted taking it.”

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Andre Johnson says Ed Reed will play in season opener

Receiver Andre Johnson said today he has spoken to Ed Reed, and the injured free safety told him he will be ready to start in the opening game at San Diego.

Reed has been recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his hip. He suffered the injury in the AFC Championship Game victory at New England. He aggravated it during workouts with the Texans and had the surgery.

Johnson and Reed have been close friends since they were teammates at the University of Miami. Johnson helped the Texans recruit Reed in March.
Reed will be limited in camp as he continues to undergo rehabilitation. Coach Gary Kubiak will bring him along slowly and will make sure he’s 100 percent before he gets on the field.

While Reed recuperates, rookie D.J. Swearinger, the second-round pick, and veterans Shiloh Keo and Eddie Pleasant will get a lot more repetitions.

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Andre Johnson eager to help rookie DeAndre Hopkins

Veteran receiver Andre Johnson reported for his 11th training camp with the Texans, and he’s excited about playing with rookie DeAndre Hopkins, the first-round pick from South Carolina.

Johnson had 112 catches for 1,598 yards but only four touchdowns last season. Hopkins is supposed to play well enough to force defenses to not concentrate coverage so much on Johnson.

“He has a lot of talent,” Johnson said. “I had a chance to work with him in the (offseason program). I’m going to help him as much as I can. I’ll help anybody they (coaches) want me to help.”

Hopkins is the first receiver the Texans have selected in the first round since Johnson in 2003. It’ll be interesting to see if Hopkins can come close to the 66 catches for 976 yards Johnson had as a rookie.

Asked what impresses him the most about Hopkins, and Johnson said, “his hands. He has great hands. I’ve never seen anybody one-hand the ball like he does.

“He’s really pumped about being a Texan.”

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Half-step not an Andre Johnson issue

Has Andre Johnson lost a half-step?

Maybe so.

I don’t care what the Houston Texans wide receiver has lost if he’s producing like he did last season.

In a recent column at the National Football Post, Len Pasquarelli wrote of how the Texaqns have worked to restock the receiving corps.

Sure they’d like to have the next Johnson before the actual Johnson enters his twilight. But drafting four receivers over the past two seasons hasn’t been primarily about replacing Johnson. It’s been about, as Pasquarelli pointed out, finding an “explosive complement” to him.

Wrote Pasquarelli:
“… [T]here has been no real discernable drop-off. But some opponents suggest that Johnson has lost perhaps a half-step, and isn’t as explosive. Johnson had only four touchdown catches last season, his fewest since 2002 in a season in which he played at least nine games. So while the bigger emphasis has been on (DeAndre) Hopkins, who should provide Houston and quarterback Matt Schaub a quality No. 2 starter, the club has privately allowed there is a need to start developing one of the other young wide receivers as well. Second-year veteran DeVier Posey had some flashes as a rookie in ’12, and fellow youngsters Keshawn Martin and Lestar Jean have promise as well. One of them needs to step up as a viable No. 3, and possible Johnson replacement in a few years.”

It will be difficult for Posey to do it this season, as he’s likely not ready until midseason after shredding his Achilles in the playoff loss at New England. Hopkins should be the eventual replacement for Johnson as the No. 1, while the Texans need one of the others to emerge as a No. 2.

We talked a year ago about the possibility that Johnson's legs were starting to go as he had multiple issues in 2011. He responded with 112 catches for 1,598 yards -- the second most productive yardage season in the NFL. Johnson’s never had more yards, and has only had more catches once.

The Texans were overly reliant on Johnson last season, and need some of the new guys, particularly rookie first-rounder Hopkins, to help change that.

As for Johnson's four touchdown catches, I don’t see them as an indicator of some drop-off in play. Rather, they speak to where he caught the ball most of the time.

If the Texans are to be a more threatening offense, Johnson has to have chances to score and more balls aimed at him in the end zone. That’s on Gary Kubiak and Schaub more than Johnson.

(Four links in four graphs there to previous posts about Johnson and the Texans' passing game. That's a new record I believe. Shall we have a parade)?

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Andre Johnson has 'lost a half-step' according to some evaluators

The Houston Texans chose DeAndre Hopkins in the first round 2 ½ months ago, in large part to provide an explosive complement to Andre Johnson at wide receiver. And the former Clemson star has, coaches acknowledge, been one of the standouts in offseason workouts. “You can really see the obvious (playmaking) skills,” Texans general manager Rick Smith said. But the Texans may need to start looking down the road as well to a future replacement for Johnson, who turns 32 this week. The 10-year veteran still rates among the NFL’s premier wideouts – he started all 16 games in 2012, the first time that has occurred since 2009, and posted 112 catches – and there has been no real discernable drop-off. But some opponents suggest that Johnson has lost perhaps a half-step, and isn’t as explosive. Johnson had only four touchdown catches last season, his fewest since 2002 in a season in which he played at least nine games. So while the bigger emphasis has been on Hopkins, who should provide Houston and quarterback Matt Schaub a quality No. 2 starter, the club has privately allowed there is a need to start developing one of the other young wide receivers as well. Second-year veteran DeVier Posey had some flashes as a rookie in ’12, and fellow youngsters Keshawn Martin and Lestar Jean have promise as well. One of them needs to step up as a viable No. 3, and possible Johnson replacement in a few years.

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TDs Wayne, Johnson should have caught

Andre Johnson and Reggie Wayne are the headliners among wide receivers in the AFC South.

They are prominent in the most-recent round of research by Mike Clay of Pro Football Focus.

Boiled down, Clay attempts to find something more telling than red zone numbers. Why? Well, over the past five seasons, catches at the 16-yard line resulted in touchdowns 4.6 percent of the time and catches at the 21-yard line resulted in touchdowns 4.0 percent of the time.

If that 5-yard difference is minimal, why should we expect a catch at the 16 to be more productive than a catch at the 21?

“[T]here’s no reason we should be using an arbitrary number to weight what does and doesn’t count as a ‘scoring opportunity,’” Clay writes. “... Should a wide receiver screen to Randall Cobb from the 19-yard line really be valued the same as a quick slant to Calvin Johnson at the 2-yard line? Of course not. But, if you’re referencing [red zone] data, that’s exactly what you’re doing.”

So Clay calculates oTD -- opportunity-adjusted touchdowns.

Brandon Marshall of Chicago was the best receiver (and overall player) in oTD in 2012 at 12.0. Given the same hands and same quarterback as everyone else, he’d be expected to score 12 touchdowns based on his catches. He scored 11.

Wayne’s oTD was 9.9. That means based on where he was catching the ball, he “should” have had 4.9 more touchdowns than the four he scored.

Johnson’s oTD was 4.8. That means based on where he was catching the ball, his five touchdown catches were right in line with his expected touchdown catches.

Johnson's expected touchdowns should be the same, if not higher, than Wayne's, I would think.

What were the biggest differences between the two?

Johnson’s average distance from the end zone on his targets was 49.7, significantly higher than Wayne’s 44.2. And Johnson was only targeted in the end zone six times, where he caught just one pass, while Wayne was targeted 16 times in the end zone and caught four touchdowns there.

We already tied into the Texans and the issue of throwing into the end zone.

Here is further evidence they could be trying to do more with Johnson in the end zone.

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Gary Kubiak thinks too much Andre Johnson is just right

Coach Gary Kubiak promises the Texans will continue to run a high percentage of their passing offense through Andre Johnson.

In 2012, Houston was one of just four NFL teams to target one receiver more than the rest combined (58.1 percent). Asked about the 58.1 percent target rate, Kubiak replied "Tell them a big percentage is going to go through him again. It's going to happen again." Johnson will continue to be the No. 1 read on the heavy majority of Matt Schaub's dropbacks, which is great for fantasy value.

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Andre Johnson off to healthy start in 2013

Texans quarterback Matt Schaub and wide receiver Andre Johnson both missed OTAs because of injuries in 2012. They’re both fully healthy in 2013.

The Texans’ defense is currently without Brian Cushing and Ed Reed, but the only 2012 starter on offense missing OTAs due to injury is right tackle Derek Newton.

“It’s great to have everyone healthy,” Johnson said after practice on Monday. “I couldn’t tell you the last time I did OTAs, so I’m happy just to be back out here with my teammates and everything is feeling good.”

Johnson missed OTAs last offseason after having arthroscopic knee surgery. He missed nine games with hamstring injuries in 2011 and hyper-extended his knee in between. He went on to start all 16 games in 2012 and, at the age of 31, led the AFC with a career high with 1,598 receiving yards.

Schaub missed last year’s OTAs while recovering from a season-ending 2011 Lisfranc injury. He started every game in 2012 and led the Texans to a 12-4 record and the second round of the playoffs. But the Texans finished 2-4, a span in which Schaub threw three touchdowns and five interceptions.

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Alabama chasing draft record Andre Johnson and Ed Reed helped set - Falls Short

The talent the Miami Hurricanes produced in their glory days is still unsurpassed.

This year, Alabama could inch closer to those teams.

Miami is the only college football program that has ever had at least four first-round draft picks in four consecutive years. Alabama has had four first-round picks the past two seasons. If they do it again this year, they’ll join the Canes as the only two college football programs ever to have at least four first-rounders in three straight years.

Alabama had defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, receiver Julio Jones, offensive tackle James Carpenter and running back Mark Ingram in 2011, then running back Trent Richardson, defensive back Mark Barron, defensive back Dre Kirkpatrick and linebacker Dont’a Hightower in 2012.

Miami did it from 2001 through 2004. Texans safety Ed Reed was part of that streak as the 24th overall selection in 2002 as was Andre Johnson, whom the Texans took third overall in 2003.

There’s a decent chance of this happening. Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner, guard Chance Warmack and offensie tackle D.J. Fluker are expected to be first-round picks. Alabama running back Eddie Lacy is the best running back in the draft, and in the past half century at least one running back has gone in every first round, though there’s always the chance that streak breaks.

UPDATED: Alabama only had THREE first round draft picks last night.

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Numbers show Texans’ overdependence on Andre Johnson

Andre Johnson wants the Texans to draft a receiver.

They haven’t shied away from doing that at various points in recent drafts. What they haven’t found yet, though, is a player who has lightened Johnson’s load.

There isn’t an unquestionable star in the group of receivers available in this year’s draft, and even if there was, it would take some trading up to do it.

That doesn’t preclude the Texans from finding a solid compliment to Johnson in a player not exalted as a game-breaking receiver.

Baltimore found Torrey Smith in the second round of the 2011 draft. In fact, Smith was the second receiver to go in that round, after the wayward Titus Young. The Broncos took Eric Decker in the third round in 2010 and the Steelers got this guy named Mike Wallace in the third round in 2009. Pierre Garcon was a sixth-round pick for the Colts in 2008. None of those guys were studs entering the draft. All of them played important roles for the teams that drafted them.
Statistically, it’s easy to show why the Texans need this. ESPN’s AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky collected these numbers from ESPN Stats and Info:

• The Texans were one of four NFL teams that targeted one receiver more than all the rest combined, along with the Lions, Chiefs and Bears. 
• Johnson was targeted on 58.1 percent of the Texans’ pass attempts to receivers, the highest rate in the league.
• Quarterback Matt Schaub’s completion percentage was 70.9 to Johnson with 31.6 attempts per interception. Meanwhile, his completion percentage to every other receiver on his roster was 56.5 with 21.6 attempts per interception.

At times last season, it seemed as if Schaub was keying too heavily on Johnson. Having a star receiver can have that effect to some extent, but that last bullet point shows that Schaub’s dependence on Johnson was totally justified. And for the sake of the Texans’ offense, that needs to change.

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Andre Johnson asks the Texans to draft a wide receiver

When we posted our Houston Texans draft needs today, we started at wide receiver. Andre Johnson agrees with that assessment.

Johnson told John McClain of the Houston Chronicle that he’s been lobbying the front office to use the Texans’ first-round pick, No. 27 overall, on a wide receiver.

“I’d like to have another [receiver],” Johnson said. “I’m all for it. I’ve asked for it for awhile. The more weapons we have, the better it’ll be for the team.”

Johnson, who will turn 32 in July, is getting old by wide receiver standards. But he’s not showing many signs of age and is coming off a season in which he had a career-high 1,598 yards. But Johnson might become even more effective if he had another threat to draw some of the coverage away from him.

Of the top receivers in this year’s draft, Tavon Austin of West Virginia will surely be gone before the Texans are on the clock, and Cordarrelle Patterson of Tennessee probably will be, too. That leaves Justin Hunter of Tennessee, Keenan Allen of Cal, DeAndre Hopkins of Clemson and Robert Woods of USC as receivers the Texans could draft in the first round.

Johnson would love to work with any of them.

“If we draft a receiver, I’m going to help him as much as I can,” Johnson said. “I’ll answer any questions he has because I want him to perform well.”
A rookie receiver performing well on the opposite side of the field could be a great asset to Johnson.

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VIDEO: Gino Torretta to Andre Johnson highlights Miami’s spring game

There aren't many programs that can trot out a former Heisman Trophy winner to throw a touchdown to a future Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver during the spring game like Miami can.

Like Cal letting Marshawn Lynch score during the spring game, Miami had an alumni touchdown as well. Gino Torretta, the 1992 Heisman Trophy winner, put on a jersey and took a snap from former All-American center Brett Romberg, and threw deep to Houston Texans star receiver Andre Johnson, also wearing a Miami jersey.

It shouldn't be a surprise that the duo hooked up for the score, considering the defenders were probably told they'd never be allowed on campus again if they even thought about hitting Johnson. And Torretta looks like he can still throw the ball a bit more than 20 years after winning his Heisman (which should have gone to Marshall Faulk, but that's another story).

Miami always has former players come back around the current team, often working out in the offseason with them. It doesn't hurt that the school is located in Miami. Why wouldn't players want to come back? You can see the Miami players come off the sideline to congratulate Johnson on his easy touchdown, and the whole idea of former Hurricanes stars hanging around the program is a pretty fun thing for the current players.

This is actually a pretty cool trend of having famous alums come back for ceremonial spring game plays. Seeing as how it is fun and harmless, expect the NCAA to step in and stop it soon.

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Draft questions: Who will complement Andre Johnson?

The Texans were booted from the divisional round of the postseason for the second straight January, ending a season that began with great promise, but ended with a whimper.

Matt Schaub was pummeled by criticism in the days that followed, which was more than a little unfair in retrospect. Schaub isn't an elite quarterback by any stretch, but he's capable of leading a deep playoff run given the right weapons.

The Texans have needs at other places, the right side of their offensive line serving as a particular concern. But this is a draft in which the Texans need to get serious about adding a wide receiver who can make an immediate impact while serving as a bridge to the future.

Andre Johnson is coming off a monster season in which he finished with 112 catches for 1,598 yards and four touchdowns. He'll also be 32 years old in July. We don't doubt Johnson has another season or two of high production in him (granted his legs cooperate), but the Texans already have waited too long to locate a player who effectively can complement Johnson and eventually replace him as the team's No. 1 option.

The Texans still might view DeVier Posey as a long-term answer, but his prospects for making an impact next season are dim after undergoing surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon in January. The under-qualified Kevin Walter finally is out of the picture, giving Houston a clear need at the position.

Robert Woods (USC) and DeAndre Hopkins (Clemson) are two early-round options for the Texans, who pick 27th overall. Tavon Austin (West Virginia) was a potential first-round match until his stock went through the roof at the NFL Scouting Combine.

The Texans always could package some picks to move up. Given the need, it might be a gamble worth taking.

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Is Andre Johnson recruiting Chad Johnson to Texans?

Back in December, Chad Johnson made an open plea to all 32 NFL teams asking for another chance to play professional football.

Now, former Miami high-school opponent Andre Johnson is trying to recruit the teamless wide receiver for a roster spot on the Houston Texans.

"I haven't set up any meetings. I could put a few words in, but that's not my call," Andre Johnson told Comcast SportsNet Houston. "I think he'll get another opportunity. I think he'll be very successful, get back to the Chad that we're used to seeing playing football."

A contrite Chad Johnson continues to express regret over the domestic battery arrest that led to his release from the Miami Dolphins last summer.

"I'd love to get a second chance to play the game that I love," Chad Johnson said via Comcast SportsNet Houston. "It was taken from me and I think I've learned my lesson and really, it's in God's hands."

Chad Johnson, predictably, is on board with the idea of joining the Texans. "If I could be that last piece," Johnson said, "especially with me being somewhat humble and being in a position where I have to prove myself again, which could be scary."

Chad Johnson concedes he's in "no position to be picky."

While the newfound humility is refreshing, it might not be enough to land him a job with the Texans. Now 35 years old, Chad Johnson no longer is an NFL-caliber starter and doesn't contribute on special teams.

NFL teams would be reluctant to burn a roster spot on him, even if Chad Johnson came with a squeaky-clean reputation and more disciplined routes.

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Andre Johnson earns big raise in 2013

Over the last few days, "Shutdown Corner" has reported on some of the base salary increases for the 2013 season. In the first report last Saturday, which was updated on Monday, the highest increase belong to Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy, whose performances during his first two seasons in the NFL added $1.75 million to his 2013 base salary.

Move over, Colt.
According to NFLPA records, Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson triggered a $3.3 million escalator in his contract and is now scheduled to earn $9.5 million in base salary in 2013. Johnson, who turns 32 in July, caught 112 passes for 1,598 yards – both numbers ranked in the Top 5 in the NFL – with four touchdowns in 2012 and was named to the Pro Bowl for the sixth time in his career.

In addition to Johnson, Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews will be on the receiving end of a hefty pay raise in 2013.

New Orleans Saints: Jimmy Graham will also get a significant raise from $630,000 to $1.323 million.

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Andre Johnson after Pro Bowl

AIEA, Hawaii -- After the Pro Bowl on Sunday, Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson spoke about his experiences in the game at Aloha Stadium and in Hawaii for the week.

WR Andre Johnson (on what the experience was like for him overall) “It was great to be around the top guys in the game and just to hang out with them and learn about them football-wise. It was a great experience.”

(on the intensity of the game compared to other Pro Bowls) “It was definitely up there. A lot of guys were playing pretty hard. Guys were into the game. It ranked up there with some of the games I’ve played.”

(on what was it like having J.J. Watt in the offensive huddle) “It was actually funny. It was something they thought about doing earlier during the week and didn’t know if they’d do it in the game or not. They actually did it early in the game. I thought they’d get him a touchdown but it didn’t turn out that way.”

(on what he thought about J.J. Watt’s route-running) “(Laughs) It’s not hard to mess up a fade route.”

(on Green Bay Packers C Jeff Saturday snapping the ball to Peyton Manning) “Well, they spent a lot of time together and Jeff announced today he was retiring. To get his last snap with Peyton in the Pro Bowl, I think it was great moment and great for the fans to see.”

(on getting to pick guys’ brains like Peyton Manning) "Peyton’s very intense, even though it’s just the Pro Bowl, he’s very intense at what he does. It just shows that’s why he’s the best at what he does.”

(on how many snaps he had in the game with Matt Schaub) “It wasn’t too many. I’m not sure, exactly. I was able to catch a pass from him.”

(on what was it like spending a lot of time with his old college teammate, Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne) “It’s a lot of fun. You get to be around guys you played college ball with. It never gets old. Being here never gets old. It was a great experience and I enjoyed every minute of it.”

(on being at the Pro Bowl with eight of his teammates) “It was great. This is probably the best Pro Bowl out of all the ones I’ve been to just because of how many teammates I had come. It was a lot of fun.”

(on his family traveling to the game) “My mom, my brother, my uncle and his family, they all came up. I had a great time.”

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Better with age: Andre Johnson at 6th Pro Bowl

HONOLULU -- The first time Andre Johnson made the Pro Bowl, he was the only Texans player invited to play in the game. The second time, too.

Those were the 2004 and 2006 seasons, much leaner years for the franchise. This time around, at Johnson’s sixth Pro Bowl in 10 seasons, he’s one of nine Texans players on the AFC squad.

Johnson said Friday that he’s enjoying being in Hawaii with so many of his teammates. The relaxed smile on his face said that he’s clearly enjoying being at the Pro Bowl, period. It’s an experience that never gets old for the Texans’ all-time leading receiver.

“It’s always an honor,” Johnson said. “You get a chance to be around great players, the best of the best. It’s a lot of fun. You get a chance to pick their brains a little bit about football and get to learn a lot about those guys, the way they work and just being around them and their families and stuff like that. So it’s always a lot of fun to be over here.”

One of the players Johnson has spent a lot of time with this week is former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, his former teammate at the University of Miami. They watched Miami’s basketball team upset No. 1-ranked Duke together earlier in the week.

Johnson also has been hanging out a lot with Texans teammates like quarterback Matt Schaub, who marveled on Friday at Johnson’s 2012 season.

“Midway through, he really got hot, and he was just the Andre that we know,” Schaub said. “He was just playing at such a high level, making huge plays for us. It’s just special to see what he’s doing as he gets through his career.”

Johnson had the best season of his career this year at age 31, leading the AFC with a career-high 1,598 receiving yards. He did it in the face of nagging, rampant media speculation in the offseason about whether his age and injuries – he missed nine games with hamstring issues in 2011 – had taken a toll on his ability.

“You keep it in the back of your mind when people doubt you,” Johnson said. “I knew that I could still go out and put up big numbers and play well as a player. That’s why I’m here.”

Now that he’s here, Johnson is getting a chance to reflect on the Texans’ season. It ended in disappointment, but it also featured more victories than any season in franchise history.

“I think we took a step in the right direction as a football team,” Johnson said. “Things didn’t turn out the way we wanted ‘em to in the end, but I think we’re building a very solid foundation as an organization, as a team. Hopefully, we can just keep heading in the right direction.”

Added Johnson, addressing Texans fans: “Appreciate you guys’ support. Best fans in the NFL. Can’t wait ‘til next season.”

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Andre Johnson tops in interesting stat

Wide receiver Andre Johnson finished 2012 with a career-best 1,598 yards receiving.

Detroit wideout Calvin Johnson and Chicago Bear Brandon Marshall were the All-Pro selections at receiver, but the Texan had the better numbers in one key category: yards per route run.

According to, Johnson was the only player to register better than 3 yards per route run, and he finished with 3.01 total. Yards per route run was decribed in the post here:

This unique metric evaluates yardage totals solely based on routes run so that the stats are indicative of performance relative to the number of opportunities. It’s easy enough to understand, so let’s look at the notable performances.

Johnson and eight of his teammates are in Honolulu for the Pro Bowl this week.

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Andre Johnson dismisses doubts

HOUSTON — By no means are the Texans expecting people to forget the 42-14 beating they took a month ago at Gillette Stadium. They haven’t forgotten it themselves.

The memory is still fresh for wide receiver Andre Johnson. But seeing the way the Texans have been written off by many, Johnson could only shake his head.
“Every team comes into the season with an ultimate goal and that’s winning the Super Bowl,” Johnson said. “There’s steps you have to go through to get to that point and that’s a big one.

“A lot of people say we don’t have a chance. I just laugh at it. We’ll be ready.’’

Coming off a season in which he racked up a career-high 1,598 receiving yards (second in the league) when many said his best years were behind him, Johnson tunes out the doubt.

“I really don’t get caught up in what people say,” Johnson said. “You have to go out and play.

“We know what kind of football team we are. We know if we go out and play well, we’re capable of beating anybody.”

The Texans will have pieces that were not there a month ago.

Tight end Garrett Graham, who sat out the first meeting with lingering effects of a concussion, will likely be on the field, although he sustained another concussion last week against the Bengals.

And Owen Daniels is coming off a team-high seven-catch, 73-yard performance.

“In order for us to get where we want to go, it’s not going to take one guy,” Johnson said. “It’s going to take everybody.”

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Andre Johnson looks to build on best season

HOUSTON -- Houston's Andre Johnson heard the whispers he'd lost a step and that he'd never again be an elite receiver as he struggled through the worst season of his career in 2011.

He didn't let it get him down.

Johnson used it as motivation, and bounced back from last year's 492-yard season with a career-high 1,598 yards receiving this season.

Now he's looking to do more as the Texans prepare for Saturday's playoff game against the Bengals.

His performance this season has left him with Jerry Rice and Marvin Harrison as the only players in NFL history with at least three seasons with 1,500 yards receiving. He also reached the mark in 2008 and 2009.

Johnson has 112 catches this season for his fourth career 100-catch year and his most since finishing with 115 catches in 2008. He was recently selected to his sixth Pro Bowl and has more than 11,000 yards receiving in his career.

Coach Gary Kubiak calls Johnson's season "amazing", and loves the way he leads the Texans by example with his hard work and positive attitude.

"I've been fortunate to be around some special players, but I really count my blessings with this one," Kubiak said. "He's a heck of a player, but a great kid, too."
Johnson has had success against Cincinnati, and is averaging 122.7 yards receiving in his past three games against the Bengals.

He's disappointed that the team has struggled recently, losing three of its past four games. But he believes they'll turn things around on Saturday.

"We just haven't been playing football the way that we know how to play it," Johnson said. "We just have to get back to what we have done earlier during the season. Find that same kind of focus and everybody just lock into what they're doing and just go play football the way we know how to play it."

Johnson got off to a slow start this season after being hampered by minor injuries in training camp. But he has been on a roll in the past seven games, piling up 1,001 yards. Johnson has six 100-yard games this season, including a career-best 273 yards receiving in a win over the Jaguars.

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis doesn't believe it's possible to shut down Johnson, but they do hope to limit his catches.

"He's a fine, fine player and I don't know about shutting (him) down and if you can ... do that because as we know, it's a two-pronged attack there with both the running game and the throwing game that comes off of it," Lewis said. "You really have to play really sound, sound defensive football in order to do that."

Johnson has a lot of respect for the Bengals, and knows Houston will have to play much better than it has been to win on Saturday.

"(They) might be the most talented defense we probably have faced," Johnson said. "They've been playing good football, a lot of good players on the back end, so it'll be a big challenge for us."

Johnson, who is the longest-tenured Texan, waited eight seasons before finally making the playoffs for the first time last season. His second trip will be very similar to the first with Houston hosting Cincinnati in a wild-card game for the second straight season.

"It's not new," Johnson said. "Last year it was new to us. This time it's not new. It's crazy that we're in the same place we were in last year, playing the same team. It'll be big. And we'll be ready to go."

One player it will be new to is quarterback Matt Schaub, who missed last year's playoff run with an injured foot. Much of the blame for Houston's recent slump has been directed at Schaub.

"That's just part of it," Johnson said. "When the team is not playing well, the quarterback is going to take most of the criticism. It's all about how you respond. We have another game Saturday, so however he goes out and plays Saturday that's what people will talk about."

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Andre Johnson goes over 1,500 yards

With a 39-yard catch from Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson joined elite company.

Johnson became only the second receiver in NFL history to record 1,500 yards and 100 catches in three separate seasons. The first, fittingly since Johnson did it against the Colts, was former Colts receiver Marvin Harrison.

With that catch, Johnson has 104 catches and 1,505 this season. He had 115 catches and 1,575 yards in 2008, and in 2009 he had 101 catches and 1,569 yards.

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Reggie Wayne stayed, skipping reunion with Texans' Andre Johnson

Considering how things have turned out, Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne never gives his decision to re-up with the team that drafted him a second thought.

But that doesn't mean he didn't at least fantasize about a college reunion.

Imagine, Wayne and Andre Johnson, former teammates at the University of Miami, working out of the same huddle instead of once again working off opposing sidelines this afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium.

"It would have been cool," said Wayne, a driving force behind the Colts' dramatic rags-to-riches season. "We joked about it all offseason, man."

Wayne's contract expired at the end of the very forgettable 2-14 season. Free agency loomed, and the Colts had given him no indication he would be part of what appeared to be a very uncertain future.

The dialogue between Wayne and Johnson was constant. So was the topic.

"He asked me, 'What's going on in your camp?' " Wayne said. "I was like, 'Nothing. I have no idea.'

"He joked that it could be like old times. 'I need some help over here.' "

Wayne's response always was the same.

"You know my number."

Wayne admits he had a few solid offers and said he "left a few million dollars on the table" when he accepted the Colts' three-year, $17.5 million offer in mid-March.

He steadfastly refuses to divulge the suitors, but Johnson indicated Wayne had an interest in a relocation to Houston.

"Here was one of the places that he actually wanted to come," Johnson said. "I was hoping that I would get a chance to be able to play with him again. Unfortunately, it didn't go that way."

One of the reasons Wayne re-signed with the Colts was the arrival of Chuck Pagano as head coach. Pagano was an assistant coach at Miami when Wayne was developing into a first-round draft pick. And it was Pagano who recruited Johnson to "The U."

In retrospect, Wayne and Johnson realize Wayne made the appropriate decision.

"Even as we joke about it now, he tells me, 'You made the right decision,' " Wayne said. "I feel like I did, too. But it's good to think about the 'What ifs?' "

Added Johnson: "He started there, he's had a great career there. I'm just happy he's there playing at a high level even though he's been doing it for 12 seasons."

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