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What made Andre Johnson return?

Posted Jul 25, 2014

The two-time All-Pro discusses why he returned for the start of Texans training camp after missing OTAs and minicamp.

The normally soft-spoken Andre Johnson wanted to be heard and the Texans listened.

“I just think when you’ve been through so much with an organization, and I’ve been here going on 12 years now, there has been a lot of things that have happened,” Johnson said on Friday from NRG Stadium. “I’ve never really just voiced opinion on it, but I think at times there comes a time where when you don’t agree with something things that need to be said. That is pretty much what it was.”

Johnson reported for the start of training camp on Friday after missing OTAs and minicamp this offseason.

Despite all the rumors circulating around a possible holdout, the two-time All-Pro did not consider sitting out for the year and said the underlying issue was never about the Texans draft strategy or their quarterback situation as many speculated.

“It’s funny because you hear all different types of scenarios,” Johnson said. “It was about not drafting a quarterback and all this crazy stuff. Whoever came up with those things, but it’s not about that. Like I said, I had bigger concerns. All of that has happened. It I doesn’t matter. A lot of people probably thought I wouldn’t be here. I’m here and that’s all that matters. I’m going to work my butt off like I always have over the past years and get ready to play some football.”

On the eve of the first day of camp, Johnson’s biggest motivation for returning may have come from his ongoing dialogue with head coach Bill O’Brien.

“It was very meaningful because he is the head coach. From the first time I met him, we didn’t really get to talk much the first time I met him because it was at a Rockets game, so we were standing there trying to talk, but everybody was coming up to us and trying to take pictures of us and things like that. After I really got a chance to sit down and talk with him, I liked him. I felt like he was straight up with me. He told me what his plans were. Over time, the more we talked, the more comfortable I got with it.”

While he wouldn’t go into the details of their conversations, Johnson did acknowledge that he was in regular contact with O’Brien and he "felt very comfortable with where the organization is going."

Johnson also appeared enthusiastic about the Texans new offense and his role, which he described as fun but challenging. Not having access to a playbook will make his learning curve a steep one, but Johnson is up to the task.

“It is going to be different; it is going to be a challenge for me," Johnson said. "After being in the same offense for eight years, you know, there is some different terminology and things like that. Different words, a lot of different formations and things like that. Like I said, it is up to me to catch up, catch up to speed with the other guys. I’ll do that. I’ll make sure that I do that and that I am ready to go.”

The two-time All-Pro receiver was happy to be back with his teammates on Friday, who gave him a standing ovation in the team meeting.

“I can only tell you, just from talking to Bill, the conversations we’ve had, the few hours I’ve spent with my teammates, just the whole atmosphere of just being here the past few hours is totally different than it has been in the past," Johnson said. "Guys are excited. The atmosphere is more upbeat than probably it has ever been. I think this staff that came in has just brought a winning attitude. They make you feel like you can go out and do that. They are giving us the confidence that if we go out and do what we are supposed to do that we will be successful. It has been all positive so far.”

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