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Andre Johnson Left Houston To Find A Quarterback And A Championship

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There is little doubt that Andre Johnson was frustrated in Houston. See what he had to say about that, and his renewed love for football, now that he has Andrew Luck as a quarterback.

“A man who has been through bitter experiences and travelled far enjoys even his sufferings after a time”  ― Homer, The Odyssey
“A man who has been through bitter experiences and travelled far enjoys even his sufferings after a time” ― Homer, The Odyssey
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

It's Not You, It's Me The Quarterback

After more than a decade of giving Houston everything he had, Andre Johnson left in frustration, searching for a quarterback and a team that would give him his best chance at a championship run.  Throughout his time with the Texans, he remained hardworking and loyal.  We didn't see much drama even through the most miserable years of a new struggling franchise.

With the arrival of Bill O'Brien came the third coaching regime for the veteran receiver, and Johnson's initial reaction was of concern about his future with the team.  He was reassured that he did in fact have a future in the new system, but a year later, it would prove otherwise as the team was ready to move in a new direction.  On March 9th, 2015, Andre Johnson was released by the Houston Texans.

Johnson clearly demonstrated frustration through last season when it was clear that Houston would continue to struggle offensively without better quarterback performance.  Just before the bye week of last season, and after a loss to the visiting Philadelphia Eagles, Andre was asked what his plans were and he said:

"Get far away from here."

One of the Eagles' cornerbacks in that game was Cary Williams, and he said this about Johnson:

"He's not the same guy."

"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."

Johnson later addressed those remarks from Williams with:

"I’m trying to help the team win," Johnson said. "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."

Indiana Johnson and the Last Crusade

Zak Keefer of the Indy Star wrote THIS article, which includes more insight to the events leading up to Johnson's departure from Houston.  Here are a few quotes that stand out in that piece:

"I basically watched him those last few years lose his love and passion for the game," Melton [Andre's uncle] says. "They'd been telling him for years, 'We're going to put the pieces around you, we're going to get it done.' Well it never happened. They didn't give him a quarterback for years."

"Everyone saw the frustration the last few years," Johnson admits. "Not only in me, but in my play on the field."

The news of his release broke while Johnson was relaxing on the couch in Miami. The phone rang. "What you going to do?" came the caller.  It was Frank Gore.

"What teams are you thinking about?" Johnson asked.

"I think we can win the Super Bowl if we go to Indy," Gore said.

Johnson smiled.

"That's funny you say that," he said. "Because I was thinking the same thing."

Here was a quote that told his whole story: "He's probably the best quarterback I've ever played with," Johnson said of Andrew Luck.  This came after three practices together.

Instead of pressing new teammate Coby Fleener for the rights to jersey No. 80, Johnson sought a fresh start. He's going with 81. It marks the year of his birth. He's even changed his shoulder pads. ("I don't want anything I had in Houston," he says.) With the Texans, he stood out from the moment he arrived, the top draft choice charged with pulling an expansion team into relevance.

With the Colts, all he wants to do is fit in. And do something he's never done in his career: Win in January.

Clearly Johnson left Houston in great frustration, and who could blame him?  The Texans cycled through four quarterbacks last season and continue a significant rebuilding process.  The lure of reconnecting with his old college coach in Chuck Pagano, and the chance to play with one of the league's best quarterbacks in Andrew Luck, made a lot of sense for an aging receiver who is counting down his last days in the NFL.

Part of me initially hoped that Andre Johnson would earn a Super Bowl ring before he retires, even with the Colts.  Then there's that part of me that pushes back, because I'm a Texans fan.  While I greatly appreciate all the incredible performances through the years, Johnson now plays for the enemy.  He plays for a team that has been the bane of the Texans' existence since their inception.  I absolutely wish him the very best as a person, and I hope that he enjoys playing football again, but it is the Houston Texans who I hope win championships....and no other team.

*****

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