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Andre Johnson Not Focused On "Getting Back" At Texans; Seeks Super Bowl Win

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Another article has surfaced with quotes from Andre Johnson. In this one, he stresses that he is focused on being a Colt and trying to win a Super Bowl to get a championship ring, but he still seems to have lingering feelings about the way things ended in Houston.

"Mallett leads the NFL in passing?  Why did I leave Houston?!!!"
"Mallett leads the NFL in passing? Why did I leave Houston?!!!"
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Before we get into this latest piece on Andre Johnson from SI.com, please note that there is a well-established collection of folks who are on opposite ends of this topic.  Some don't want to read anymore about Andre Johnson and how he feels, while others may still be looking for some type of closure.  Some fans may feel bitter towards him, especially given recent quotes he has made, while others will be endeared to him forever for all he did during his time in Houston.  Please be respectful of each other regardless of which point of view you have.

Clearly Johnson is seeking a championship ring before his career draws to a close.  He obviously felt that the Colts were his best option to accomplish that, and we have heard how happy he is with his new quarterback Andrew Luck, and how miserable he was the last two years with the Texans.  This latest article at SI.com brings out a few more quotes, where Johnson makes it clear that things could have ended better than they did.

For years he and his Houston teammates chased these Colts—first against Peyton Manning and then against his replacement—and now he’s among them, finding out just how good life is on the other side.

"After you’ve been somewhere so long, you never think you’ll join another team," said Johnson on Sunday in Colts’ training camp at Anderson University, minutes after the seven-time Pro Bowl receiver left the practice field. "And then, to actually be on the team you’ve had a hard time beating, it’s kind of crazy."

With Texans head coach Bill O’Brien planning on diminishing his role in 2015, Johnson sought and was granted his release in March. And then he set his sights on joining Indianapolis, the team—and former AFC South rival—he identified as having the best possible road to the Super Bowl. It’s the most important go route Johnson has ever run, and the journey seems to have rejuvenated him.

"I think he already loves this team, that’s evident," said Colts general manager Ryan Grigson, seated behind the wheel of a golf cart just before practice begins. "He kind of lights up just talking about it. It’s energized him, because of the culture of winning here, and I think just playing with Andrew is something that’s really excited him. He’s working his tail off out here."

"It’s been so much fun," Johnson said. "There’s a lot of great energy on this team. It’s a fun group of guys, and it’s a great feeling to be part of that. People always ask me about [Luck] and I tell them you’d think he’s played for 10-12 years. He’s such a young player in this league, but he’s a hell of a player. I can only imagine what his career is going to be like.

"The guy is just very, very smart, and he sees a lot. He sees things before they even happen. And that’s a great thing to have in your quarterback."

There is no denying that Andrew Luck is one of the top signal-callers in the NFL, but there are significant weaknesses on that roster with respect to their offensive line and throughout the defense.  A great quarterback can help mask those deficiencies to some degree, but that doesn't sound like a team that has a clear path to the Super Bowl.

The Colts have progressed each of the last three seasons in the playoffs, but they were soundly eliminated by the Patriots in the recent AFC championship game by a 45-7 thrashing.  Luck was dreadful in completing 12 of 33 passes for 126 yards and two interceptions.  Their time of possession in the game was limited to 22 minutes, and their third-down efficiency was only 3 first-downs out of 11 opportunities.

Instead of bolstering the offensive line and defense, Indy has chosen a "boat race" approach to their 2015 roster.  They increased their wide receiving group by signing Andre Johnson and drafting Phillip Dorsett, and today they agreed to a five-year $65 million extension for T.Y. Hilton.  They seem to think that they can play "speed bump" on defense and give Andrew Luck a ton of targets to work with to try to outscore opponents.  I don't agree with that strategy, and I'm surprised that Andre Johnson thinks it will result in the ring he is seeking.

Johnson will be in Houston’s ring of honor some day in the not-too-distant future, but he realized he would have to leave the only NFL home he had ever known to pursue the ring that he really wanted.

"After we played our last game last season, [the media] asked me did I feel like it was my last game there," Johnson said. "I told them I didn’t, but deep down in my heart I knew it was. You hear things here and there. I just had a feeling. And when you have that gut feeling, your gut never really lets you down.

"I had that feeling that I probably wouldn’t be back, so when it happened, I really wasn’t surprised. But when you see it happen, you’re like, ‘Man, I’ve been in this place for 12 years and now it’s all over.' You build so many relationships, and it all has to go away until football season’s over."

No doubt it is tough to end any relationship after twelve years.  Joining the Colts, a team that has been the dominant presence in the AFC South for all but two years of the Texans' existence, just makes it that much more emotional for Johnson and fans of the Houston Texans.

Johnson doesn’t sound bitter about how he and Houston divorced, but there’s still some lingering hurt which he doesn’t make much of an effort to hide. From the second season of the expansion Texans on, Johnson was synonymous with the franchise. And then, after enduring as Houston struggled for respectability, finally won, and then struggled again, he was deemed expendable.

"I just think they really didn’t know how to come at me," Johnson said. "I just think they wanted to go in a different direction, and that was pretty much it. I would have felt better if they would have said that’s what they wanted to do. I’ve always been straightforward with them, so I felt like they should do the same. But it is what it is. I don’t really care about it too much. I’ve moved on from it. I’m here. I’m a Colt now."

"A lot of people ask me, ‘Did you come here to get back at the Texans?’" Johnson said. "That’s not what it’s about. I came here to win. I came here to win a Super Bowl. When I was in Houston, I always said I wanted to be a part of something that was built from the ground up. But then you go through that, and then after 12 seasons, there comes a point where you know your career’s almost over. What do you do?

"You go find a place and give yourself the best opportunity to try and get a ring. That’s just the way I looked at it. My decision was never based on money or anything else but, ‘Where can I go and play with a great quarterback and get a chance to go to a Super Bowl?’"

I honestly wish Andre Johnson had gone to an NFC team.  If that were the case, I'd have no problem pulling for him to get a ring so long as it isn't at Houston's expense.  The fact that he went to the division nemesis for the Texans makes that nearly impossible.  I respect all that he as done through the years.  I'm glad he is really enjoying his experience with his new team and a "shiny" quarterback who is off to a potentially legendary career.

That being said, I hope the Texans obliterate the Colts in the two scheduled match-ups this season, and that Indy is wedged so deep in the bowels of the AFC South that they get neck-strains looking up at even the Jaguars and Titans in the standings.  Johnson may not be purposely trying to "get back" at the Houston Texans with his move to Indy, but the Colts are the enemy, plain and simple.