Retired Houston Texans' Pro Bowl receiver Andre Johnson reflected Sunday on his Hall of Fame candidacy, and his mended relationship with the AFC South franchise.
The Texans' Homefield Advantage captain was sharply critical of the organization on social media a year ago and posted a photograph in solidarity with Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson after he requested a trade due to displeasure with the front office. Johnson emphasized that he has put those feelings behind him.
The legendary receiver was in the suite with the McNair family, including chairman and CEO Cal McNair, earlier this month during an upset victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.
“We had a talk,” Johnson said. “It's just like a family. I look at this organization like my family, so families are going to have disagreements. You have a disagreement. You talk about it. You get over it and you move on.”
Johnson also expressed confidence in Texans general manager Nick Caserio's ability to overhaul the roster and
'Nick Caserio will do a great job of bringing players in here and setting a winning culture," Johnson said. "That's what it's all about, bringing the right players in who want to win, who want to work hard and play the game the right way. That's what it's all about. That's what I tried to do. I came in here worked my butt off and left it all out on the field."
The Hall of Fame names its 15 finalists in December before final balloting for the inductees that's announced prior to Super Bowl LVI.
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Johnson was named to seven Pro Bowls and is the only player in the Texans' Ring of Honor. He leads the franchise in every major receiving category and finished his career with 1,012 receptions, 14,185 yards and 70 touchdowns.
The former first-round draft pick from Miami, selected by the Texans third overall in 2003, ranks 11th all-time in the NFL in receiving yards and catches.
"It's a great feeling, not only for me, but for the organization, the fans, the whole city of Houston," Johnson said. "Just to be walking to the grocery store, be at the gas station and have so many people congratulate you and say you deserve to be in. It's been a great feeling. The past week or so, it's been different than any other time I've been here in the city. I'm just embracing it. I'm hoping we get that next vote to go into Canton. It won't just be for me. It will be for the whole city of Houston.
Johnson was named All-Pro five times.
In a dozen seasons with the Texans, he set records for most catches in a single game with 14 receptions, 273 yards and three touchdowns. He led the team in receiving yards and catches 10 times. He played 133 consecutive games and scored 64 career touchdowns.
"It's great to be back here where everything started for me," Johnson said. "Just to be back here and be around the fans, be around coaches, not many players around I was with, to be back here, it feels like home and it will be an exciting day for me."
Johnson was recently congratulated by Los Angeles Lakes star LeBron James while attending a Rockets game.
"It means a lot because I have a relationship with LeBron," Johnson said. "Anybody that knows me knows I'm a huge basketball fan. I think our relationship grew when he was in Miami. I spent a lot of time down there going to Heat games."