Wide receiver Andre Johnson and the Texans agreed to a new contract on Thursday. At a press conference that afternoon, Johnson, owner Bob McNair and general manager Rick Smith answered questions from the media, and the following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Owner Bob McNair General Manager Rick Smith Wide Receiver Andre Johnson
General manager Rick Smith
(opening comment) "I really feel like this is the starting and continuation of a special season that we're going to have this year. Last week we got together and it was all about the past and the first official Texan retirement of Aaron Glenn. Today's announcement is a little bit about the past, about the present, and hopefully about the future, as we are here to announce the contract extension that we just executed with (WR) Andre (Johnson) that will take him through to the 2016 playing season and essentially make him a Texan for life. We are excited about it, and Andre embodies what you're looking for in a football player. Certainly, he is in a class with himself. He is the one guy that we would even consider doing something like this for. He obviously has been well-documented with respect to where he was contractually. Not only is this about his play on the field and what he does on the field and all of the accolades and the outstanding plays, but really it's about what he's about as a man, as a leader for our football team, what he means to this organization, what he means to our team, what he means to this city, and what he means to this league. We're certainly proud of him; certainly excited that he will be with us and continue to lead our football team, so I am pleased that we were able to get this done. Congratulations, Andre."
Owner Bob McNair(opening comment) "Well, (WR) Andre (Johnson) is in a special class and I think that the action that we've taken as (Texans general manager) Rick (Smith) said, is just a reflection of how we view Andre, and it's important to us that Andre have one home, and that's with the Texans. He is a future Hall of Famer, and will probably be our first Hall of Fame player, and we wanted to make sure that he went in as a Texan, that he plays as a Texan, and hopefully retires as a Texan, but he takes such good care of himself and he plays so well that I don't even think you can talk about retirement for him. He might be playing until he is 45; I don't know. He is an outstanding teammate, and he is a man of his word. He does what he says he will do and I think it's a great example for the rest of our players. At the same time, it shows that he's someone who really does his job and performs exceptionally well, and that's going to be recognized by this organization. Congratulations, Andre, and we're real pleased that we were able to do this and we're looking forward to a big year."
Wide Receiver Andre Johnson
(opening comment)"First of all, I'd like to thank Mr. McNair and the whole organization. From being in the situation I was in and having five years left on my contract, for them to do something like this for me and my family, I don't think words could really describe it. All I can say is thank you from the bottom of my heart. I'd like to thank all my teammates for supporting me. I think missing those few days in OTA's really blew things out of proportion, but today I am very happy that we're able to get everything settled and I can move forward with football. I always said I wanted to play for one team, and to be able to play for the Houston Texans for my whole career is a tremendous honor. I always said I wanted to be a part of something special and I knew that coming to a new organization, things were going to be a little rough in the beginning and now I feel like things are taking that turn for us. I'm very excited for this upcoming season. I know the fans are excited, the whole city of Houston is excited, and we're going to give them something this year to be excited about."
(on how it feels to be the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL) "It feels great. I can't complain (laughs). There is nothing I can complain about. Like I said before, for me to be in the situation that I was in and for this to happen, it just speaks a lot about the people we have in the organization and the owner that we have. You can go down to the guys in the equipment room; it's a first class organization. Like I said, I have no complaints. I'm very happy right now."
(on if there was ever any doubt that this deal wouldn't happen in his mind) "Well after the situation that happened at OTA's and once I came in, I just kind of put it behind me and let my agent handle it from there. I can say the offseason was a little bit frustrating, just sitting at home and thinking about contracts and things like that. Once I came in, I put it behind me and let my agent handle it. As you can see, it worked out, so I'm very excited about it."
General Manager Rick Smith
(on how smoothly the negotiations went and the terms of the deal) "Well, to answer the latter question, I don't release terms. So, I'm going to stay consistent with that. But as it relates to the negotiation process, it went about as smooth as it could go. It has been documented that (WR Andre Johnson's agent) Kennard (McGuire) and I, you know, we've done some deals before and we've got a mutual respect for each other. So, we were able to come together and find some common ground and put together a deal that I think is reflective of what Andre deserves and something that the club feels good about."
(on the effect of this deal on future deals throughout the league) "Well, you do think about that obviously because whenever you are running a business or are responsible for contracts, you always are concerned and aware of precedent. This is certainly something that concerned us. We feel like (WR) Andre (Johnson) is, if not the only player, there are certainly not very many players that we would consider doing something like this. We just feel like he's in a class of his own. You know, if I do have a player or two that may want to come upstairs and talk about this, I may send them back and tell them to get some skins on the wall like he has and come back and see me."
(on the lines of communications between himself and WR Andre Johnson's agent Kennard McGuire) "It helped significantly, and like I said, Kennard is a professional. I think he's one of the top agents in our business. When Andre made the decision to hire him, I thought it was a smart decision. I think that he does an excellent job of not only advising his clients, but educating his clients on the terms of the deal and on what things are important. I thought it was smart decision to hire Kennard and certainly it has worked out."
WR Andre Johnson
(on whether there was a time when he felt funny about trying to renegotiate his contract) "I wouldn't say I felt funny. They always say a closed mouth never gets fed. I just communicated with Mr. McNair (Texans owner Bob McNair) and (Texans general manager) Rick (Smith) on how I felt. We all communicated well with each other and like I said, once I came in for OTA's, I just kind of put it behind me, I let my agent handle it from then on. I just pretty much left the situation alone. Every time you guys asked me about it, I couldn't tell you anything that was really going on with it. I just left it in his hands and when something finally got done, I was happy with it. I wouldn't say I felt funny about it."
(on whether or not his new contract pressures him to perform better) "This may sound crazy, but I don't feel pressure playing the game of football. I've been playing this game since I was six years old, so when I'm out there playing, I'm enjoying it. I'm showing the love I have for the game, so I wouldn't say there is a pressure, but I do know where this organization wants to be and I know where I want the organization to be. If it's up to me, I'll tote it on my back to hopefully be playing in Cowboys Stadium at the end of this season. So when you watch me play on Sundays, you're going to see everything I have. I'm going to lay it all on the line; that's what you can expect from me."
The Texans also practiced on Day 7 of training camp, and they did so at the Methodist Training Center. Head coach Gary Kubiak and some of his players met with the media after, and the following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak QB Dan Orlovsky CB Glover Quin QB Matt Schaub WR Kevin Walter
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on if contract talks are near completion with WR Andre Johnson) "I'm not quite sure. It's my understanding they're awful close. I'll probably find out here after practice. I'm sure they have been working on it. I'll see what's up."
(on if a new contract for WR Andre Johnson would put everyone's mind at ease when it gets done.) "Well I think it's a great thing for this organization and for a great person and a hell of a player. I've been doing this a long time and he's what this game is all about. I'll always say this about him, but having been here for four years, for him to stay the course with this organization through some tough times says a lot about what Houston means to him. So, it's well deserved and a great job by (General Manager) Rick (Smith) with getting it all worked out. I'm proud of the whole situation."
(on how the importance to the organization to get contract negotiations done before the start of the season) "It's so important. In this day and time in football with free agency, players have the ability to move. You develop a reputation as an organization that people want to be with you and those types of things. The way they're treating these players here and the way they're taking care of their own, to take a player like (WR) Andre (Johnson), who meant so much to this organization and to step up like (Owner) Bob (McNair) has stepped up tell you what he thinks of the player and what he thinks of the direction of the team."
(on what he thinks of WR Andre Johnson's new contract versus what he brings to the field) "For the last two years nobody has played to the level that this young man has as long that I've been around, other than one other guy. What he's been doing has been special and there's a lot more to come. So, that's going to be exciting."
(on today's practice) "We had some guys back. (DE) Antonio (Smith) was back. (LB) Zac (Diles) was back today. Of course (LB Brian) Cushing was back to day. So, we got to 72. So hopefully our number keeps growing and start getting some of these guys back."
(on the receiver battle between WR Kevin Walter and WR Jacoby Jones) "(WR) Kevin Walter and (WR) Jacoby (Jones) are going head to head. That's the bottom line. Kevin's the starter he's earned that right. We've got a heck of a player pushing to be a starter in this league. We're putting them right down the middle. It's very competitive. Our whole group is extremely competitive. I'll tell you this, (WR) Bobby Williams has impressed the heck out of me. This guy is staring at a tough group to crack, but he proves every day that he can play NFL football. He's very impressive."
(on if there is any separation being created in the running back position) "I would say that (RB) Arian (Foster) is definitely doing his job. He is having one heck of a camp. I think (RB) Steve Slaton has proven to his teammates that he's back. The young kid (RB Ben Tate) is kind of swimming. He shows you signs of doing very good things, but has a ways to go. The two other young men (RB Chris Henry and RB Jeremiah Johnson), probably special teams will separate them before it's all said and done. I think they're all doing what I expected at this point."
(on how has the offense been doing in handling time management during practice) "We started to work with the clock today for the first time. We might have had one penalty, I think, if I was watching correctly. As we get going, we will start to work with the clock more and more. That's not only just for player, but for coaches too."
(on how the offense has been looking in the red zone) "Some good and some bad. We're trying to improve on some things down there that we're doing. Obviously, the key to being a good red zone team is to run the football. Right now I think we are coming off the ball pretty good. I'm pleased at what I'm seeing."
(on how much QB John David Booty have improved) "I think he's improved a lot. He's a guy to me if you put a good group of guys around him he'll get the ball at the right spot and he'll do the right thing. He'll get the chance to do that. Being in a position as a backup quarterback for a team, the most important thing is when you come in that game, that things keep moving you don't hurt the football team. Let the other players play and do their job. He keep showing me signs that he could do that."
The Texans practiced Thursday night at the Methodist Training Center, and afterwards head coach Gary Kubiak answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of his interview.
(on his thoughts on tonight's practice) "We had a good day today. We worked hard this morning and had a good two hour practice. Tonight, we had a chance here to get out in front of our fans working on some of the specialty things we do. We had a good day of practice. It's nice to end it this way."
(on his thoughts on the Hall of Fame game this weekend) "I'll actually be watching. I was lucky enough to be around Jerry Rice for a year. He's a special player and I was very fortunate to know him a little bit. Floyd Little, obviously, a former Bronco who I've got to know when I was in Denver. If you've never been to an induction it's pretty special. I've been fortunate enough to go to a couple with (John) Elway and Steve Young and (Gary) Zimmerman. I'll watch the game just like everybody else. We're going to have a practice tomorrow afternoon and we're going to get after it Saturday morning in full gear and then we'll give them a break."
(on the players signing autographs for the fans tonight after practice) "It's important. Our fans are great. It just seems like since I've been here from the first year till now just to see what's going on with our football team and the excitement with our football team. It's great for us, we enjoy it. It gets everybody going and we appreciate the fans coming out."
(on the practicing under the lights for the fans) "It's just great to have them out here. It's our guys going at it the time of year when they're really tired and worked up. We appreciate what they do. That's why we play. Hopefully, it gives them something to be excited about because we're excited about this season."
(on who are the candidates for kickoff return and punt return now the WR Trindon Holliday is out with an injury) "Well obviously (WR) Jacoby (Jones) and (WR) Andre (Davis) can do it, but we're going to get (RB Steve) Slaton back there. (WR) David (Anderson) is capable of doing it. Who I've been impressed with a little bit is (CB Sherrick) McManis. He's been back there doing some of that. So that's who we'll start. I think Trindon will be back Monday and should be full go by Arizona."
(on RB Ben Tate) "He's doing good. He's behind from the standpoint of being familiar of what we're doing. His work habits are good and he have a lot of ability. He just got some good players ahead of them. I think he's realizing that, but he's having a good camp and he's worn down just like everybody else. He's just got to push through it."
(on RB Chris Henry) "He's been impressive. He's a 100 miles per hour football player all the time. I've got to get him comfortable with everything we do so his talents can take over and I'm looking forward on how he's doing on special teams."
(on his comparisons between WR Andre Johnson and Hall of Fame WR Jerry Rice) "Just how they work. It's one thing about this business you get a chance to be around some great players, but very seldom you get a chance to be around some of the most unbelievable workers. Watching Jerry Rice work, watching Rod Smith for me as a coach. I thought I'd seen it all until I came here and seen this young man work. He's something. He's all business and usually those great players are."
(on what he saw in his kickers from tonight's practice) "We just wanted to put them in a situation. It's hard to simulate a game for a kicker, but try to put him in a tough situation they had the wind behind their back and kicking small field goals. They've both been kicking very well. We'll just keep going and try to get an s fair we can until we start playing."
QB Dan Orlovsky
(on how big it is to see the same faces and have that continuity coming into year two for him) "It makes a big difference being around the guys, knowing their personalities. Again, I have a great feel for them as football players too. It's a big difference compared to last year. I'll just continue to work and build upon that."
(on being in the same system a few years in a row and its benefits) "It is a big difference. I guess I never really understood how much of a difference it was. It's definitely a comfort level, it's a confidence level. It allows you to go out and play fast and play well."
(on how much practices where there is some hitting gets him ready for the year) "It has its part. Obviously it's not a live game situation, so there will be a difference. Practice-wise you just try to play as fast as you will in a game and get yourself ready to play. That is what training camp for us is all about. It's just getting us ready to play. It will be big for me, game timing wise. Obviously getting hit and stuff will make a difference, but just trying in practice to have your mind mentally into how it will be in a game."
(on himself and the other Texans quarterbacks' relationship) "We're all friends. We use the competition side for ourselves to get better and the chips are going to fall wherever they may. Every quarterback in the league is going through a training camp like this. A group of them are trying to go out there themselves and get better. We all want to be playing, so it's a good relationship to have. To have that competition side and to learn from each other. We get along well."
CB Glover Quin(on the heat during practices) "It's blazing out here so if you're not mentally tough, you've got to be physically tough. In this heat, it really separates the men from the boys."
(on how he has grown since last year) "I just feel like I'm more aware in certain situations and kind of know what to expect. But, I always feel like you've got to play honest. I try not to look too much into it. You know what's going to happen and you get yourself planted and then they counter. So, I try to play everything honest and knowing what to do, knowing how to call, just being confident in what you're doing so you can move around and to be able to play a little bit."
(on getting used to the system in his second year) "Definitely. You're trying to learn what's going on. You're trying to make sure that everybody you're playing with is counting on and you're just trying to make plays. Everything is coming at you like a whirlwind. You're head starts spinning and things start running together. I would say that's probably the toughest thing—trying to catch up to the speed of the game."
(on having a lot of cornerbacks and the competition) "We've got a lot of good CBs. We work hard every day. It's going to be tough to crack that roster so we're going to have to keep pushing each other and keep making each other better. We just need to keep working and let the pieces fall where they lay."
(on CB Kareem Jackson being in the same spot as him last year) "I think he's doing pretty good. I think he's learning. He's coming along and growing up every day. I just try to tell him some of the things I went through and tell him some of the things I've learned and some of the ways I've tried to figure out how to survive out there on the island. I mean, just talk to him, go through film, and talk about a few things. But, he's a great player so I'm just trying to catch him up to speed with the playbook and make sure he knows everything that is going on and he'll be able to play."
(on giving the rookies a hard time like the WR Trindon Holliday joke at practice yesterday) "No, I'm not giving them too much of a hard time. We have some of the older guys that give them a hard time. I mean, I'm just a year two guy. They still give me a hard time. I'm still learning and so I don't look at myself as one of the big time vets or whatever. I feel like I'm a year two guy still learning. So, I'm just trying to help those guys out as much as I can because I was in their shoes last year."
QB Matt Schaub(on if WR Andre Johnson's new contract allows the team to relax a bit) "We were relaxed about the situation from the get-go. As teammates, we know what kind of player he is, what kind of person, and in due time, he was going to get his. We're just excited for him."
(on WR Andre Johnson's influence on the offense) "He creates so much attention from defenses that, we showed it last year, even if they want to double cover him, we're still going to get him the balls, but that just opens up so many other guys to do things on the other side of the field. His leadership, the way he goes about his business; he's a workhorse; it just speaks volumes for the type of guy he is."
(on if WR Andre Johnson's commitment to the Texans influence other players) "That just shows everyone else and the younger players what you can get out of being committed to something and when you're a man of your word and you have integrity, which Andre does. He's all those things. He's a team guy, he's been here in this organization from Year Two, and I know how bad he wants to bring this town a winner."
WR Kevin Walter(on WR Andre Johnson) "On the field, he takes care of his business. Off the field, he does the same thing. He's a great guy. He's a great friend and you can't say enough about the guy. He goes out there and does his job. If you could build a receiver and build a person, you'd do everything Andre Johnson does."
(on WR Andre Johnson receiving jealousy) "He deserves it. He definitely deserves it. He comes out here and does his stuff and there's no jealousy by anyone and there's no need to be. Just look at him and what he does on the field. He is the best at what he does at his position."
(on his revenge to QB Matt Schaub for the pie in the face for his birthday yesterday) "You know, Schauby's (QB Matt Schaub) birthday was last month but I think it's going to be this weekend because I'm going to get him back. That pie in the face, it was good. It was unexpected but it was a lot of fun."