Star Wide Receiver Andre Johnson Reports For The First Day Of Training Camp
It was reported earlier yesterday morning by NFL insider Ian Rapoport that when Andre Johnson was spotted at NRG stadium a few days ago he was taking his physical, which he passed. Rapoport who himself had said that Andre Johnson’s presence at Texans facilities didn’t mean anything in terms of him being closer to joining the team
Andre Johnson never really had any leverage in this situation because of the years left on his contract and his high salary. He lost a $1 million bonus for not attending the acquired amount of off-season workouts. Andre was fined for the mandatory mini-camp practices that he missed and would have been fined $30K for each day of Training Camp missed.
It isn’t for sure if Andre accomplished anything in his absences, and it doesn’t seem as though we will learn any of the specifics. When Andre spoke to the media earlier today he said he is going to keep the dialogue with upper management between them and him.
Andre did say that a lot of what he said back in May stemmed from the things that has happened over the past 8-9 years.
There was an interesting quote from Andre when he was asked the question:
“Was there something specific that changed your opinion about the direction of the franchise?”
“Um, I just think that over time when you see the way things have went and sometimes when you voice your opinion about things, sometimes you don’t feel like you are heard. It gets frustrating, and then what happen last year with the 2-14 and things like that. It wasn’t just frustrated for me, I understand it was frustrating for everybody, but everybody has a right to feel the way they want to feel, and I felt the way I felt. It is what it is but none of that really matters now because I’m here. I think that’s all that matters, I’m here, I’m with the team.
You have to wonder what things Andre voiced, and to who he said it to. Andre has always been a private kind of person and has always been smart with the things he says to the media, and the way in which he says it. He puts winning first, above stats and accolades, as long as the team wins nothing else matters to him. He had never complained about anything publicly, even when he had right to, especially his lack of touchdowns. The missed opportunities in the end zone and shots down field combined with the losing are the first to come to mind in terms of things that could have frustrated Andre.
Andre shot down the notion that part of the reason he was unhappy was because of the Texans not taking a quarterback higher in the draft. He laughed that off saying that it had nothing to do with that and that he had “bigger concerns”.
I question that a little bit because I think it is obvious that if the Texans drafted a quarterback who could possibly start the season, there would be potentially higher ceiling for what the Texans could accomplish this season. And if the Texans hit on that quarterback there is an obvious need to have Andre on the team for the young quarterback to rely on. Thus, making a Andre necessity for the next two or three years.
It really seamed as though Andre was concerned that he would be a candidate to be cut sometime in the next two years. Andre declined to comment on whether he was given any future assurances from the team.
Andre was asked if he wanted to finish his career as a Texan, and he simply replied “That’s my plan”. He was later asked a similar question, and continued to say that he wants to stay with the Texans for his entire career but admitted that some things are out of his control. He even referenced Jerry Rice in saying that nobody would have ever thought he would wear a different uniform.
It is very admirable of Andre that it means a lot to him that he spend his entire career with the Texans. Even with all the losing throughout the years and having to somewhat start over again, he still prefers to remain in Houston.
Bill O’Brien Deserves A Ton Of Credit
A reoccurring theme throughout Andre’s presser was the comfortability he seemed to have with Bill O’Brien. You can’t help but be impressed with the way O’Brien handled the Andre Johnson situation coming in as a rookie NFL head coach. Based off everything that has been said O’Brien understood how important Andre is as a franchise figure and as a talent, and treated him accordingly throughout the past few months.
Many predicted O’Brien would handle the situation in a “no nonsense” kind of way but it has been the opposite. We shouldn’t be surprised by how well O’Brien did because he was able to handle one of the worst situations any coach could be dealt at Penn State.
Andre likes O’Brien and obviously likes the direction of the team and the ways O’Brien will use him in the offense. In an article John McClain had shortly after the presser, he says that Andre was impressed with how O’Brien plans to get mismatches for Andre all over the field, including the redzone.
Bob McNair Steps In To Help Convince Andre
The final stamp on putting Andre’s mind at ease ultimately came from Bob McNair, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.
McClain reported that Andre was indeed worried about his future with the Texans but was reassured by McNair that there weren’t any plans of cutting him next year. McClain said that in the past week McNair has had Andre in his office and has spoken on the phone with him.
It looks as though McNair wanted the situation resolved and have Andre in camp on the first day. McNair who lets people do their job waited patiently but finally decided to step in and help accelerate things.
In Andre’s absence there had been so much talk about why it made sense to get rid of Andre after this year that you almost began to think that that could possibly be how the organization was thinking. We’ve never had this kind of situation with Andre and Bob McNair hadn’t spoken to the media so we didn’t know his position. In the past, the organization had made it known that they wanted Andre to retire as a Texan but we didn’t know if along with the coaching regime change, was there a change in the way of doing business as well.
Andre is back now, and he is right when he says that it is all that matters.