Johnathan Joseph was a transformative player.
On and off the field, he made the franchise better.
Joseph came to Houston in 2011 when the defense sorely needed him. In 2010, the Texans stumbled to a 6-10 mark, in large part to a passing defense that ranked dead last in the NFL in yards allowed, and next-to-last in the League in touchdown passes permitted. That script was flipped the next year, as new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips came to town and got help in the form of Joseph, safety Danieal Manning, a healthy Connor Barwin and a rookie named J.J. Watt. That quintet wasn't around in 2010, and it was a big reason the Texans went to the playoffs in 2011.
Joseph arrived in late July on the heels of the lockout ending. He spent his first five years in the League with the Bengals. It didn't take long for him to make an impact, either. Joseph picked off his first pass in a Week 2 win at Miami, as the Texans coasted to a 23-13 victory. He'd finish with three more interceptions that year and take the first of his two trips to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl.
His leadership in the secondary was vital this decade as well. In 2010, rookie Kareem Jackson and second-year Glover Quin both struggled at cornerback. Quin was moved to safety, where he flourished. Joseph was a mentor to Jackson, and the duo wound up trading the franchise lead for career interceptions as the years progressed.
Joseph's spot in the southwest corner of the locker room would routinely have three, four and sometimes more players gathered around him. His was a voice that carried significance, and he commanded the respect of everyone around him, whether they were teammates, coaches or team staff.
In the community, he routinely gave back to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston, and was a regular over the years at Black History month activities.
Joseph exits as the franchise leader in picks (17), interceptions returned for scores (4) and passes defensed (118), and he's fifth all-time in tackles with 482. Further, he's sixth in NFL history in the passes defensed category, and has the fourth-most interceptions among active players with 31.
The Houston Texans and CB Johnathan Joseph have mutually agreed that he will enter free agency. Check out some of the best shots from his time as a Texan.