Beyond the Ramble: Andre Johnson and the “Highs and Lows” of playing football

One man’s many thoughts about the latest announcement regarding Andre Johnson’s legacy.

Earlier this week, it was announced that Andre Johnson will be inducted in the Houston Texans Ring of Honor; he’ll be the first Texan to have that exclusive honor, which speaks about how young the franchise is and how little talent the franchise has had.

When I first read it, I thought about how great Johnson must feel because even though it isn’t the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it’s something worth recognition as he’s the first and so far the only member of the Texans to be part of their Ring of Honor. At the same time, I thought about how frustrating it can be to be one of the best on a constant basis and still get not enough recognition.

Johnson finished his career with 14,185 receiving yards, 1,062 catches, and 70 touchdowns, but was always shadowed by louder and more flamboyant players such as Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, and freak-of-nature, Calvin “Megatron” Johnson. That probably had to do with Johnson being reserved and always soft-spoken, but soft he wasn’t as former Tennesse Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan can attest.

Numbers-wise, Megatron had more touchdowns than Johnson, but Johnson was not a slouch by any means as he produced more 100-catch seasons (5-1) and 100-yard games (51-46) than the former. He always delivered and was very durable as he started 186 out of 216 possible games during his 12-year career.

In retrospect, Johnson might not have been happy about the lack of winning. Until the Texans acquired Matt Schaub, he was thrown passes at by the likes of Dave Carr and Sage Rosenfeld. Once Schaub’s declined started, Case Keenum, Ryan Mallet and the ultimate journeyman, Ryan Fitzpatrick were the ones in charge of getting the ball to him.

The two times he did make it to the playoffs, the Texans beat the Cincinnati Bengals only to be disqualified in the following round both times; it would be akin to going to Disneyland for the first time ever, wait in line to get into the Splash Mountain, only to get pulled out and go home immediately afterwards and see how much fun other kids are having.

In spite of all the losing, not having adequate quarterbacking and being underrated for most of his career, Johnson was always professional and never let circumstances out of his control take a toll on him. Eventually, he stopped playing because of a diminishing skill set, not because he was tired of playing.

Other than J.J. Watt, there might not be a Texan that is as symbolic as Johnson; one that fans automatically think of when they think of the franchise. Even though he played a season with the Indianapolis Colts and eight games with Titans, once he was no longer deemed a part of the Texans future, Johnson will always forever be known as a Texan.

How should Johnson feel about being overshadowed by one of the most talented players ever and not winning enough football games? He ought to be proud of leveling one of the biggest thugs in the NFL, his induction into the Texans Ring of Honor and the most significant individual achievement a football player strives for: His future candidacy to the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame.

PFF Edge

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