Johnathan Joseph knew about Andre Johnson long before the two were standing on the same sideline during games.
“When I was in Cincinnati and he was here, competing on the field was always different because I just knew him from afar a little bit and he never said much,” Joseph said. “I was like, this guy never talks. Once I got to know him a little bit I knew this was his personality. He doesn’t say much.”
In Savannah, Georgia, the two met again when a mutual friend, former Texans cornerback Fred Bennett, was getting married. Bennett and Johnson were teammates in Houston while Joseph both attended South Carolina together. Johnson and Joseph got along so well, so they even discussed the possibility of Joseph one day playing for the Texans.
On July 29, 2011, Joseph became a Houston Texan.
“When I signed here to Houston, he and I started hanging out more,” Joseph said. “I’m a jokester so I just laugh and joke all the time.”
The duo had fun on the field too. They began competing against each other in practice every day and let each other know when one had gotten the best of the other.
“He’s (Joseph) very smart,” Johnson said. “When we would practice against each other, we were always helping each other with different things. There would be things I would do while running routes – he would always call me ‘Big Dog’ – so he was always like, ‘Big Dog, I had you on that one.’ I might be like, ‘Well what gave it away?’ He would tell me or I would tell him, ‘I had you on that’ and he was like, ‘Yeah, you got me’ and stuff like that. We were always really competitive and trying to help each other get better.”
Over the years, Andre Johnson and Johnathan Joseph developed a friendship, celebrating everything from their accomplishments on the field to holidays and birthdays together. One of Joseph’s most memorable experiences was attending the two-time All-Pro wide receiver’s 32nd birthday in Miami.
“He had the whole weekend drawn out, every day had something going on and I was in town for that,” Joseph said. “That was probably one of most memorable, fun birthday parties I’ve ever been to just the whole weekend altogether. He laid it out. Can’t be outdone.”
Joseph and his teammates hosted a bowling retirement party for Johnson, along with the children from the Houston Texans YMCA this week. On Sunday, the Texans will honor Andre Johnson during Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. The franchise’s all-time leading wide receiver will become the first member of the Houston Texans Ring of Honor.
“People are honoring him and it was a big week for him,” Joseph said. “I think he’s deserved it, all the work he’s put in, obviously, the career he’s had. I’m just glad to be a part of this week.”