Andre Johnson is set to sign a 1-day contract Wednesday, April 19th, with the Houston Texans and retire where he got his start back in 2003. The Miami native is the greatest player in Texans’ franchise history and will not be easily outdone. To explore Johnson’s amazing career, it takes stepping back in time to Coral Gables and the University of Miami.
I was an obsessed ‘Canes fan at a high school of Seminoles and Gators when Andre Johnson signed with the Miami Hurricanes. The Miami Senior High graduate was a Parade All-American was considered by many the #1 WR coming out of high school. Johnson arrived on campus at 6 feet 2 inches of chiseled man-child and fans knew we had a future star on our hands.
Fans were excited for him to take the field but we had to wait. In 1999, Johnson red-shirted to get acclimated to college life and sit behind some other legends in Santana Moss and Reggie Wayne. By 2000, he was a reserve wide receiver and the kickoff specialist averaging 20.8 yards / return. But Wayne and Moss were still around with Andre King also holding seniority. Johnson played the reserve role along with fellow NFL mainstay Jeremy Shockey. Those were star-studded rosters and recruiting classes.
In 2001 Andre Johnson took his meteoric rise into legendary status. He was still among a talented group of pass catchers in Kevin Beard, Ethenic Sands and Jeremy Shockey, but Johnson was the star. Picture this: from reserve to dominant force. He caught 7 balls for 199 yards and 2 TD’s in the 2002 Rose Bowl game where he was named co-MVP. Talk about big time players / big time games- Johnson also dominated the Seminoles that year with 5 receptions for 111 yards and 2 TDs.
In 2002, Johnson caught 52 balls for 1,092 yards (21 yards per catch!) and 9 TD’s. Leaving with a year of eligibility left, Andre is still 5th at Miami in receiving yards and 3rd in career TD receptions. Johnson stood out against rivals again scoring against Virginia Tech and Florida in his red-shirt junior season. Miami fans knew he wasn’t going to stay in orange and green for long. His future was in the NFL. Had he returned to Miami in 2003 there’s no doubt Miami defeats Tennessee and possibly plays for a third national title in a row.
Andre was drafted by the Houston Texans #3 overall in the 2003 NFL Draft. The dysfunctional Lions took Charles Rogers before Johnson and paid for it. Rogers played three seasons and had 440 yards and 4 TDs. Johnson had a Hall of Fame career with 14,185 yards and 70 receiving TD’s.
Even though he never had the luxury of catching passes from a good QB while in Houston, he still ranks eleventh all-time in NFL career receptions and 10th all-time in NFL receiving yards (as of today). Johnson made 7 Pro Bowls and was 1st team all pro 2 times. Johnson totaled 1,000+ receiving yards 7 times and 900+ twice with QB’s named Matt Schaub, Case Keenum, TJ Yates, Dave Ragone, Tony Banks, and David Carr. Johnson made Schaub look better than he was, and did the same for Keenum, Yates and even the punch-drunk Carr early on.
2008-2013 were banner years for Andre with the Texans. Johnson had 4,360 yards and 25 TD’s between 2008-2010. He was injured in 2011 but bounced back well and helped in the playoff run. But his 2012-2013 seasons totaled 3,005 yards and 9 TD’s. The Texans were playoff bound only twice in Andre’s time there (also in 2012) and he picked up 358 yards and a TD through 4 career playoff games (note: Rogers’ career numbers were on par with Johnson’s career playoff numbers)
Johnson played for Miami and Houston with a fiery passion that made fans remember stars like Michael Irvin. Andre’s most infamous bout of raw passion was with Cortland Finnegan of the Titans. The brawl is in the video below and worth a few thousand watches. But if you watched his game, it was always that of a physical nature. He manhandled the Nebraska secondary in the Rose Bowl, he slaps Finnegan around while in the NFL. Johnson was a tackle breaking, body-up, type of receiver that consistently made plays with his physical stature and nature.
But his passion on the field can’t be outshone by his passion in the community. Andre is known for his Toys R’ Us shopping sprees for children in need. Johnson and his foundation have been doing this for years. You want to tear up a little? Read this article from SI or watch the video below.
Andre is a Hall of Fame man, and a Hall of Fame player. His contributions to our society have been long lasting and will continue on forever. The world needs more Andre Johnson types in it. In a league embattled with domestic violence and deadbeat dads, here’s a great father and mentor in our football world.
Hall of Fame
With Andre sitting at #11 overall in receiving yards and a solid reputation, he undoubtedly should be a first ballot HOF player. Just look at the names he hovers around statistically:
- Jerry Rice, Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, Isaac Bruce, Tony Gonzalez, Tim Brown, Steve Smith, Marvin Harrison, Larry Fitzgerald, and Reggie Wayne. Those are names of Hall of Fame wide receivers that were NFL stars for a decade or more.
- The names he stands above are equally as impressive in guys like: Cris Carter, Torry Holt, Michael Irvin, Calvin Johnson, Rod Smith, Hines Ward, Steve Largent, Andre Reed, James Lofton, Irving Fryar and Art Monk.
Thank you, Andre! Congrats on a fantastic career!