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'Dre reflects on historic season at Pro Bowl


KAPOLEI, Hawaii - Andre Johnson can't stop smiling.

He's had the red carpet rolled out for him twice before in Hawaii, but he never was able to share his enjoyment with teammates.

"It's always fun to come to the Pro Bowl," Johnson said. "I think this year is much better than the ones in the previous years because I have teammates here this year. It's a lot more fun to have two teammates here with me."

Seeing how much fun defensive end Mario Williams and tight end Owen Daniels are having reminds Johnson of his first Pro Bowl trip.

Reflecting on a productive season in a tropical setting like Oahu may be the best incentive for a player to return to the Pro Bowl.

"Just from talking to them and seeing them in practice, they really enjoy this Pro Bowl and they definitely say it's something that they would never ever want to miss again," Johnson said.

Coming off a record-breaking season, Johnson is spending his Pro Bowl week exactly the way fans might expect: relaxing by the pool and enjoying the serenity after an eventful and hectic year.

{QUOTE}Johnson rarely has escaped the spotlight after leading the NFL with 115 receptions for 1,575 yards (13.7 avg.) and eight touchdowns in 2008. He was named to the AP All-Pro first team and won the NFL Alumni Wide Receiver of the Year award last week in Tampa, Fla.

While he enjoys the accolades and attention, Johnson also cherishes his free time in a time zone four hours behind Houston.

"I really just use vacations to rest," Johnson said. "This is a time you can get away, be away from your family and a lot of your friends and things like that. You can just keep to yourself because of the time difference.

"When (people) call you, it's late where they're at and it's early over here, so the time doesn't match up and you get a little free time to yourself."

Quiet afternoons on the beach this week have given Johnson some perspective on his incredible season. By all accounts, his performance is the most impressive by any player in team history.

His yardage total was the most in the NFL since 2003, and his total catches were the third-most since 2000. During the course of the season, Johnson surpassed both the 5,000- and 6,000-yard plateaus for his career and topped 450 career receptions.

Yet Johnson talks about his stats in the same hushed tone as he might discuss what he ate for breakfast. Of course, that's one of the most endearing characteristics of No. 80.

"I felt like I had a great season," Johnson said. "It's the best season I've had since I've been in the NFL. I'm going to continue to work and hopefully next year I go out and have a better season than I did this season."

One can only imagine what type of offseason training regimen Johnson would have to endure to exceed his 2008 exploits. But that topic is for another conversation. Right now, Johnson is having too much fun.

"To be honest, I couldn't tell you," Johnson said about when he'll begin again. "One day, I'll just get up and say, 'Hey, I'm ready. Let's start getting ready for the season.' I'm pretty sure it will be sometime soon. I couldn't tell you how soon, but it's coming."

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