by Nicholas A. Norman
Special to the NNPA from the Houston Forward Times
Newly signed Indianapolis Colts receiver Andre Johnson insists that any bad blood between him and the Houston Texans, whether it exists or not, had nothing to do with signing with a divisional rival.
“(Leaving the Texans) hasn’t even really set in yet. I was just talking about that with someone (Thursday),” Johnson said at a Galleria-area hotel. “Everybody thinks that I went to the Colts to try and get back at the Texans and stuff like that. That had nothing to do with it. I just went to the … place where I felt was the best fit for me and where I can have a chance to win a championship.
“It wasn’t about circling (game) dates or nothing against the Texans. I had 12 great years here. Been around some great people, built some great relationships, a lot of great friends. Houston’s always going to be my home. I have nothing bad against the Texans.”
Johnson will soon begin working out with his new team and catching passes from Luck, one of the game’s premier young quarterbacks. While he may not hold anything against the Texans, he again acknowledged his excitement for pairing up with Luck.
“I can’t wait to get it going,” Johnson said. “It’ll be different. But at the same time, it’s still football. I’ll go in, adjust, learn … try to fit in to help win games.”
The former face of the Texans’ franchise was honored at Friday night’s Moonlight Soiree Spring Gala for his work with the Houston Women’s Center.
“Where would we be without our mothers?” Johnson said. “I grew up in a single-parent home. I knew how things were. I grew up without my father. I can understand some situations that other people go through.”
Asked by reporters on the first day of the offseason program to discuss what it’s like not having Johnson on the team, DeAndre Hopkins said, “No comment.”
Asked later about being the No. 1 receiver with Johnson now gone, Hopkins said, “No comment.”
When the question didn’t include Johnson’s name, Hopkins said plenty. For example, when asked to explain how it feels to be a leader of the receivers this year, Hopkins said, “It feels great. My motto is I’m going to go out and work every day no matter who is here. It’s a mentality that I always play with since I’ve been playing football.”
Later, when asked about helping new receivers learn the ropes, Hopkins managed to avoid saying Johnson’s name, referring to him only by number.
“I told those guys they could come to me,” Hopkins said. “Coaches are going to help them transition into this offense, but a lot of wide receivers in there look up to me because we don’t have 80 here anymore. I like that chip on my shoulder.”
The phrase “chip on my shoulder” doesn’t really apply in this specific context, but given Hopkins’ reluctance to answer questions mentioning Johnson and Hopkins’ decision to not even refer to Johnson by name hints at some possible tension between the former face of the franchise and the first-round pick who eventually supplanted him.
Johnson may not be about avenging himself at the moment, however we know he will have his game day face on when he plays his rival team twice during the regular season. Playing with the Andrew Luck and the rest of the Colts could bring Johnson that coveted Super Bowl championship he so desires. Meanwhile the Texans quarterback situation is a mess and watching that play out might be revenge enough.