Monday afternoon delivered a hammer-blow to the Houston Texans and their fan base after it was revealed that both wide receiver Will Fuller and cornerback Bradley Roby had been suspended for six games for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy.
Houston's offense had found their rhythm as the season wore on and losing Fuller is a disappointing loss. However, team legend and former All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson is confident that the Texans can cope without the soon-to-be free agent.
"I think they'll be fine," said Johnson on Tuesday, who was speaking to SI as a part his work with Crown Royal to promote water breaks.
"When you have a loss like that, you know Will's a big play guy, he always seems to find the end zone," said Johnson. "But the other guys just have to step up and just play."
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One such guy is wideout Keke Coutee. A fourth-round pick by the Texans in 2018, the Texas Tech Red Raider exploded on the scene his rookie year with 109 receiving yards on his debut at the Indianapolis Colts, before recording a further 110-yards during their loss to the Colts in the playoffs that season.
After such a promising rookie campaign, expectations surrounding Coutee were high in 2019, however, he made just nine appearances recording 254 yards receiving. His role continued to drop this season making just one appearance prior to Week 11, where he returned in a bigger role due to injuries.
"He came out as a rookie, started off well, battled through injury," said Johnson. "He suffered an injury last year early in the preseason with the high ankle sprain, I actually had one of those myself so that lingers the whole year."
"He's finally healthy, he's gotten an opportunity and he's just taken advantage of it. And he'll get more opportunities now that Will is gone."
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Fuller's suspension comes just days after the team opted to release veteran receiver Kenny Stills, who has recently cleared waivers. As a result, and with Randall Cobb on injured reserve, the Texans are left with Brandin Cooks, Keke Coutee, and rookie Isaiah Coulter on the active roster.
But for anyone hoping Johnson could be convinced to come out of retirement to suit up for his former team to fill in this season, don't get your hopes up.
"No, I can't do it," laughed Johnson, the seven-time Pro Bowler, now 39. "I hear that just about every day."