After 15 NFL seasons, Johnathan Joseph has called it a career. His contribution to the Texans sometimes gets overlooked and it shouldn't.
J-Joe was signed in the July free agency frenzy that followed the lifting of the 2011 lockout. Everyone knew the Texans were seeking a corner after a rough 2010 season defensively. Nnamdi Asomugha was the top candidate on the market but the Texans nabbed the then 27-year-old Joseph, who played ten more years, while the 30-year old Asomugha was done after 2013.
The Texans defensive fortunes changed dramatically as they went from 30th in the NFL to 2nd. In the next nine years, they would finish in the top 3 three times and in the top nine of points scored five times.
Of course, it also helped that J.J. Watt was drafted, plus Whitney Mercilus a year later, and the secondary got better as Danieal Manning joined the team and Kareem Jackson upped his game. Countless other defenders contributed under the guidance of Wade Phillips and then Romeo Crennel.
It's certainly worth pointing out that Johnathan Joseph has played in more games than any Texans defensive player in the history of the franchise. More than Watt, Kareem, Mercilus, Brian Cushing - all of them.
The most important thing to remember about J-Joe's tenure was that the Texans became consistent winners. They grabbed six division titles in his nine years here. They also won four playoff games. They did better than 75% of the league in these categories.
Joseph was also a mentor to so many players. I lost count of how many Texans would tell me they'd seek his counsel on football issues and other matters. To say he was well-respected might not do it justice.
He also had an impression of me, sometimes quoting me as we said hello in the halls. He was a regular on Texans Radio, always bringing great perspective to whatever was happening on the field.
He moved on to other teams last year. That happens all the time in the NFL, but he spent the bulk of his career here and he'll always be a Texan to us.