After waiting eight (8) years for a playoff berth and toiling on disappointing team after disappointing team, Andre Johnson thought the worm had turned. The Houston Texans won the AFC South in 2011 and 2012 before ultimately losing in the divisional round of the AFC Playoffs. 2013 was supposed to be the next step in the franchise's progression to a Lombardi Trophy. The Texans, with the help of their franchise wide receiver, even brought 'Dre's buddy Ed Reed on board. All arrows were pointing up. Or so we thought.
2-14, with fourteen losses in a row, was not part of the plan. Ed Reed, the longtime friend of Andre Johnson who was supposed to get the Texans over the top, didn't even make it through half of the year before the Texans cut him. Throughout the abysmal season, 'Dre's frustration grew, ultimately boiling over in a very uncharacteristic public shouting match on the sidelines with Matt Schaub that saw 'Dre walk off the field before the game was over. After the season, we learned 'Dre played the last quarter of the season with an injured wrist.
Way back in November, after the team cut Ed Reed, I wondered aloud if Andre Johnson was nearing his breaking point:
Andre Johnson will turn 33 years old this offseason. As good as he still is, nothing lasts forever. Is it possible the way the Ed Reed saga went down, coupled with the sobering reality that he's playing for a team that has far more questions than answers, could lead to 'Dre deciding he wants to finish his career somewhere else?
A week ago, Andre Johnson was notably absent from a voluntary team workout, leading to speculation as to the reason for his absence. 'Dre had not publicly addressed that absence until today. Unfortunately, not only does it appear that Andre Johnson may not have missed his last team activity, it appears he's unsure that he wants to be in Houston at all.
Andre Johnson said he's been wondering if this is still the place for him. Hasn't asked for trade though. #Texans— James Palmer (@JPalmerCSN) May 13, 2014
Andre Johnson: "This offseason has been very frustrating for me." Doesn't plan to attend OTAs. #Texans— Brian T. Smith (@ChronBrianSmith) May 13, 2014
Andre Johnson says he's been wondering if this is the place for him. Says he doesn't plan to be at OTAs or minicamp currently. #Texans— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) May 13, 2014
Andre Johnson said the losing has gotten to him. #Texans— Dave Zangaro (@DZangaro) May 13, 2014
The veteran wide receiver said Tuesday he’s highly frustrated with the state of a franchise that went 2-14 last season. Johnson doesn’t plan to attend OTAs or an upcoming mandatory camp and is uncertain whether he wants to remain a Texan this year.
"Is this still the place for me?" Johnson asked following a media event, in which he presented the Houston Women’s Center with a $30,000 check.
"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. "And I just kind of wonder sometimes, ‘Is this still the place for me?’"
"When you bring a new coach in, you go through a rebuilding process," Johnson said. "Some people say it’s not. Some people say it’s a quick fix. Everybody has their own opinion. But I’ve been through the situation more than once."
More than anything, Johnson made it clear the Texans’ losing has simply worn on him. Since 2003, the Texans have posted six losing seasons and only two with 10-plus wins. They went 12-4 in 2012 but collapsed last year. In all, Johnson’s only been part of two playoff wins in 11 years.
"I just look at my career. … I’ve only been to the playoffs twice. I think we’ve only had three winning seasons," said Johnson, who at least twice last season expressed his frustration on the field during games. "I don’t think any player wants to experience that. I think over time it can become very frustrating. And this offseason has been very frustrating for me; beginning of the offseason, I should say. That’s just kind of where I’m at right now."
Johnson said he keeps in contact with the Texans, talking with the club at least once every other week. He also made it clear he hasn’t requested a trade and isn’t concerned with his contract. For a Texan who could one day be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it’s more about the franchise’s failings in the past and uncertain future than anything else.
"I’m just taking some time, thinking about some things," Johnson said. "You know, when I make my decision I’ll make my decision and go from there."
Your reaction, BRB? How is this going to play out? Have we seen the last of Andre Johnson in a Houston Texans uniform?