Johnson receives NFL Alumni award

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HOLLYWOOD, Fla. –Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson was honored as the NFL Alumni Wide Receiver of the Year on Friday at the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in South Florida.

It's the second consecutive year and third time overall that Johnson has won the award, which is voted on by former NFL players. The seventh-year receiver out of the University of Miami also took home NFL Alumni honors in 2006 and 2008.

Johnson was presented on Friday by Hall of Fame wide receiver James Lofton, who was one of 20 NFL Hall of Famers – including Barry Sanders, Warren Moon, Mike Singletary and Don Shula – on hand for the star-studded event.

"First of all, I'd like to thank God for giving me the ability to go out and play the way that I play," Johnson said upon receiving the award. "I'd like to thank the NFL Alumni. This is my third one, and I really love these things. I love putting them in my trophy case.

"But I'm very happy to be here. To grow up and watch some of the players that are sitting in this room, this is like a dream come true. You never think you'll be sitting in a room like this to see so many great players."

In 2006, Johnson won NFL Alumni honors after leading the league with 103 catches. In 2008, he won after pacing the NFL in both receptions (115) and receiving yards (1,575).

This season, Johnson once again led the league in receiving yards (1,569). He joined Jerry Rice, who was elected to the Hall of Fame on Saturday, as the only players ever to lead the league in receiving yards in consecutive seasons. Johnson also joined Marvin Harrison as the only receivers to record back-to-back 1,500-yard seasons.

{QUOTE}"Somewhere out there, there is a place where you can go and you can manufacture the ultimate football player – and I think we have that in this young man," said Lofton, who played from 1978-93 and retired as the NFL's all-time leading receiver. "He's 6-3, 223 pounds. Now, if he had played in my era and he had been 6-3, 223 pounds, he would've played tight end. Well, obviously he's too fast to be a tight end. He was a world-class sprinter when he was at the University of Miami, at the 'U.'

"I had a chance after I played in the NFL to become a broadcaster and then to become a coach in the NFL, and he is everything that you look for as a wide receiver. Andre has every skill set that you could imagine."

Lofton, who coached wide receivers for the San Diego Chargers from 2002-07 and the Oakland Raiders in 2008, wrapped up his introductory speech for Johnson with a joking admonishment.

"As a coach, I had to look long and hard to find an area of improvement," Lofton said. "He fumbled once. So Andre, during the offseason, I want you to work on carrying the ball around with you, everywhere you go.

"No, just come up and accept this award. Once again, Andre Johnson – the top wide receiver in the NFL."

The other winners at the 28th annual NFL Alumni Player of the Year Awards Dinner were: Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints (head coach); Drew Brees, Saints (quarterback); Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans (running back); Dallas Clark, Indianapolis Colts (tight end); Steve Hutchinson, Minnesota Vikings (offensive lineman); Jared Allen, Vikings (defensive lineman); Patrick Willis, San Francisco 49ers (linebacker); Charles Woodson, Green Bay Packers (defensive back); Elvis Dumervil, Denver Broncos (pass rusher); and Joshua Cribbs, Cleveland Browns (special teams).

Follow Nick Scurfield on Twitter at *twitter.com/NickScurfield or find him on the "I'm A Texan Club" at imatexan.com/profiles/Nick_Scurf/.*

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