It was a beautiful Monday for birdies and bogeys as Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson hosted his inaugural Celebrity Golf Classic at the Golf Club of Houston. The charitable event benefited the Houston Area Women's Center, an organization dedicated to helping individuals affected by domestic and sexual violence in their efforts to move forward.
Johnson, an avid leader in community involvement, relished the opportunity to support an organization like the Women's Center.
"You always want to give back, especially being here 11 years now," he said. "Not many people get to see you and interact with you, and that's just something I said I always wanted to do.
"Growing up I never got a chance to meet a professional athlete, so I always said I wanted to get out and let people get a chance to meet you or give you a hug or shake your hand. That' s why I continue to do what I do."
Joining him on the links were teammates, former Texans, friends and others. Tight end Owen Daniels, cornerback Johnathan Joseph, as well as free agent fullback Vonta Leach and Philadelphia linebacker DeMeco Ryans spoke about Johnson's generosity in the community.
"We love helping out our teammates and other players around the league when they have foundations and things that mean a lot to them," Daniels said. "'Dre's one of my favorites, so it's great to be here for him."
"Whenever Andre calls, I have to make sure I'm here," echoed Ryans. "He's, first and foremost, a great friend and always has been from when I was here in Houston and we still keep in touch. He's an awesome guy who's doing great things in the community. You have to come out and support a first class guy like Andre."
For 37 years the Women's Center has been providing shelter, counseling and advocacy to support women, children and men in building lives free from the effects of violence. Johnson's contribution will assist in providing a place of refuge and relief to the 120 people living in residential shelters.
"My foundation is always working with kids that grew up in a single parent home and things like that," Johnson said in an interview last month. "I've been able to work with the women at the Women's Center in the past, and we wanted to reach back out to them and work with them again. Giving back to the women that have been battered and stuff like that and have been through some tough things in their life, just to help them get back on their feet. We just try to help out as much as we can."
As for his golf game, Johnson predicted it would be "very inconsistent."
"I may hit a good shot and hit five bad ones," he said with a laugh. "I think that's what makes me want to play it so bad and become good at it, because it's a challenge. I'm a competitor."