Andre Johnson looking to become Texans’ first Hall of Famer

Nov 19, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans former player Andre Johnson (right) is inducted into the Houston Texans ring of honor by Texans owner Bob McNair at halftime of a game against the Arizona Cardinals at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Andre Johnson looking to become Texans’ first Hall of Famer

Andre Johnson, the greatest offensive player in Houston Texans history, is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the second straight year.

Once upon a time, Andre Johnson was the third overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. The Houston Texans had played only one season when they drafted Johnson out of Miami. He was going to be the star receiver to connect with quarterback David Carr for a decade.

Andre held up his end of the bargain.

After David Carr, there was Tony Banks, Dave Ragone, Sage Rosenfels, Matt Schaub, T.J. Yates, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Ryan Mallett. Regardless of who the quarterback was, Johnson produced like a star.

Five times he went over 100 catches. Seven times he went over 1,100 yards. He was a four-time All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowler. He is the sole player represented in the Houston Texans Ring of Honor.

Johnson is hoping the second time around; he joins the Gold Jacket Club.

“It’s a tremendous honor. I don’t really think about it much, to be honest, until it comes around. I get asked about it a lot, but now that it’s here again, I’ve been getting a lot of texts and a lot of phone calls from a lot of friends and family. Hopefully, this year we can get in.

“It would mean a lot. It just shows everything that I put out, all the hard work I put in, just your peers and the voters respecting your game and the way you carried yourself out on the field. It would mean a lot.” 

Johnson was the first star player for the Houston Texans, which allowed him to forge a unique relationship with the city of Houston. It is a relationship he still continues and values, and one that would make him proud to represent the city and the team in Canton.

“It would mean a lot. I built a great relationship with the city of Houston. I’m just a kid from Miami. I never really had been out of Miami until I can here, so I made Houston home. I see so many people, and everybody is always talking about, ‘When you got to Canton, we’re going to be there.’ I can only imagine what Canton will be looking like. It’s something that is talked about a lot. Especially with the finalist list coming out.” 

Johnson’s credentials are more unique than most other receivers, especially the other receivers who are finalists this season. Torry Holt (2x All-Pro, 7x Pro Bowler) spent his career catching passes from Hall of Famer Kurt Warner as part of the “Greatest Show on Turf” and the Marc Bulger, himself a 2x Pro Bowler in the Rams’ high-octane offense. Reggie Wayne (3x All-Pro, 6x Pro Bowler) spent the majority of his career catching passes from Peyton Manning and then from Andrew Luck. Johnson never played with a quarterback on the level of Manning, Luck, or Warner.

It is a fair point for Johnson to make in his candidacy.

“I would probably just tell them if you look at my career and what I did throughout my career, I never played with a Hall of Fame quarterback. I never played with any other Hall of Fame Player. If I did play with a Hall of Fame Player, it was J.J. Watt, and he played on the defensive side of the ball. I don’t know many guys who put up the numbers I put up without playing with another Hall of Fame guy.” 

Those Rams teams had Warner, Holt, Isaac Bruce, and Marshall Faulk on offense. Only Holt is not in the Hall already. Wayne’s Colts teams included Manning, Marvin Harrison, and Edgerrin James on offense. Wayne is the only one not yet in the Hall. In fact, Wayne’s teammate, defensive end Dwight Freeney is also a finalist.

The Texans are yet to have a player inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Johnson admitted there eventually comes a point in your career where you start to wonder if you can make it to Canton.

“I think once you’re drafted, when I came here, I didn’t say to myself, ‘I want to be a Hall of Fame player.’ I just always said I wanted to be a great player. I wanted to be one of the best to every play. I never said I wanted to make it to the Hall of Fame. As your career goes along, you guys always remind us of our stats and things we’re accomplishing. Then it’s like, ‘Man, OK, I was the first person to do this,’ or ‘I did something that Jerry Rice did.’ Now it comes in your mind, ‘Well, maybe I can get in there one day.’ I don’t think that’s it’s something that you come in and just assume is going to happen.” 

He doesn’t get nervous about the process or the outcome, however.

“To be honest, I never got nervous about it because I just feel like it’s out of my control. So, I don’t think I will get nervous about it. Because it was my first-time last year, I didn’t really know what to expect. This year I do feel a little more confident because I’m a finalist again. Hopefully, it will happen.” 

Johnson confessed to how special it would be to be the first Texans player in the Hall.

“It would be great. To be remembered as the first person to do something that’s something that’s going to last a lifetime. Even having my name in the stadium, walking into the stadium, and the only name they see up there is yours. There’s just something different about it. To be the first to do it, it would be special. It would mean a lot.” 

For a player who spent his career as the first Texan to achieve many milestones and records, the team couldn’t pick a better representative as their first than Andre Johnson.

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