“The love that I’ve been given has been amazing,” Johnson said Wednesday. “I came home and I’ve retired. I know that’s what you guys wanted so it’s finally done. I’m very excited about it. I’ll still be here in the city of Houston.”
On Wednesday, the two-time All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver signed a one-day contract with Houston to officially retire as a Texan. Texans Chief Operating Officer Cal McNair, General Manager Rick Smith, and Johnson’s family were on hand for the press conference which kicked off with a highlight reel of Johnson’s storied career.
“I’d like to thank the McNair family, for drafting me in 2003,” Johnson said. “What you have done for me and my family has completely changed our lives. So, I’m very thankful to you guys for that. I hope that I pleased you guys with the way that I played the game.”
Coming from Miami, Johnson admitted he did not know much about Houston but that the city embraced him and welcomed him. He gave an emotional statement, thanking his mother and uncle for their support and encouragement. Johnson said he played the game with anger, not wanting to go back to the hardships of his youth.
“I just wanted to do everything I could to put this organization on the map,” Johnson said. “The only regret I have is not helping this organization win a world championship. Other than that, I just tried to give this organization everything I could. Whether it was playing injured, you were going to have to drag me off the field in order for me not to play.”
Bill O’Brien and a few of the Texans coaches and personnel, as well as teammates
The most prolific receiver in franchise history, Johnson was a first round draft pick (No. 3 overall) in the 2003 NFL Draft. In his 12 seasons with Houston (2003-14), Andre Johnson became the Texans all-time leading receiver with 1,012 receptions for 13,597 yards and 64 touchdowns. Johnson reached many career milestones as a Texan, including becoming the second-fastest player to reach both 13,000 yards and 1,000 receptions, doing so in 160 and 168 games, respectively. During his highlight-reel worthy career, Johnson has been one of the premier pass catchers to ever step on the football field.
Johnson, 35, spent the last two seasons of his career with the Indianapolis Colts and the Tennessee Titans, respectively, until he announced his retirement last October. Johnson still continued his annual charity work in Houston, such as handing out Thanksgiving turkeys in the Fifth Ward or taking children in Child Protective Services on a shopping spree for Christmas gifts.