This year feels different for Andre Johnson, both on and off the field.
Now in his twelfth season, the seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver contemplated walking away from the game completely after last season's 2-14 finish. A new head coach, a new quarterback, a new system – what would it be like starting all over again at this point in his career?
"It's different, it's definitely different," Johnson said on Texans Radio. "Being around here, back around the team, it almost feels like I'm back in college. Football is fun. You're enjoying it, the coaches making things fun, they're not just walking around with a sad face and not interacting with the players. Coach (Bill) O'Brien walks in the locker room and cracks jokes with the guys and stuff like that. When you have stuff like that going on with the team, it makes you want to do a lot for your coach. It lets you know that he has your back. It keeps everybody loose."
Johnson has since said he's glad he returned. In fact, he wishes he had come back sooner. That's how much he has enjoyed these past few months. Plus, he had to study hard with less time to learn the playbook and the new offense installed by O'Brien.
"It's a challenge," Johnson said. "It's probably the most I've studied in a long time as far as just trying to pick something up really quick. I know I had to play catch up coming in here and they told me they were going to move me around a lot. I know I had to learn all the positions as far as playing wide receiver. I was able to pick it up pretty fast. I spent a lot of time just looking at the different route combinations and stuff like that, just trying to learn the different concepts. I think once I learned the different concepts that helped me out more. No matter where I line up, if you know the concept then you know what you got."
Through two games, Johnson leads the Texans receivers with 167 yards, averaging 13.9 yards per catch.
Each week, Johnson continues to climb the all-time yards receiving list, surpassing Irving Fryar to move into 15th place with his performance at Oakland. He also currently ranks 14th with the most receptions in NFL history with 939 catches.