The Texans spoke to the media after practice on Thursday, the fourth day of organized team activities (OTAs) and first day that wide receiver Andre Johnson was with the team.
Texans owner Bob McNair Texans head coach Gary Kubiak Texans WR Andre Johnson
Texans owner Bob McNair
(on his meeting with WR Andre Johnson) "Andre came to see me and wanted to assure me that he loved being a Texan and that this whole thing had sort of gotten blown out of proportion and it was out of character for him. He wanted me to know that he's a team player, that nothing has changed. And I told him, I said, 'Well, I just wanted you to know that we miss having you out here. Your teammates miss you, we miss you, and we want you out here.'"
(on if there were any contract negotiations of note) "No, I don't do any of the negotiations. (General manager) Rick Smith does that."
(on if he was surprised that Johnson stayed away) "Well, I'm sure he was getting advice from a lot of different people. He probably thought it was going to be sort of a low-key kind of deal. He didn't expect it to be played up as big as it was. He wanted to be out here with his teammates and let everybody know he's happy being a Texan, and we're happy having him. But with any of our players, if they have anything that they want to talk about, we're always willing to sit down and talk to them, review their situation and help them to understand what the team's obligations are, what the team's parameters are. There are some things we can do and some things we can't do, and sometimes players don't understand that. But I think he's fine. I'm delighted that he's back. He's happy, he's smiling, and we're happy and smiling."
(on if there would be benefits of re-doing his deal with it being an uncapped year) "No, because we still have 53 players on our squad and we have to take care of everybody. We have our own budget that we set, and this was unchanged this year whether it was an uncapped year or not, and that really didn't play into it at all."
(on what can be done to satisfy him to where he doesn't leave again) "Well, I think he'll have the opportunity to sit down and visit with Rick and they can talk about it and determine where they are and what they want to do and where they can go, and they'll go from there."
(on if he'll open up his checkbook when the time comes) "We'll sit down and visit to see where he's coming from and let him understand what our situation is, and we'll go from there. What we've committed to is that we'd sit down and talk to him about it, and that's what we'll do."
(on if those discussions would start on Friday) "I don't know. His agent worked that out with Rick. I'm not involved in that."
(on if he feels confident one way or another that a resolution can be reached) "I'm confident he will be a Texan and he'll be a happy Texan. We try to listen to people and try to be fair with them and hear their point of view and let them understand our point of view. Usually, when reasonable people sit down and do that, you can walk away feeling that you've been heard and been treated right. We try to do that with everybody."
(on if it's plausible that Johnson has outperformed his contract) "Well, there are always ups and downs with everybody. You always have player that are overpaid and you always have players that are underpaid. Nobody knows that the future holds. You don't know how they're going to play this year. They tend to level out over time, though, but yes, you have ups and downs. And you do that in business. Compensation is probably the most difficult issue to deal with in any type of organization, because you never hit perfect. Never happens."
(on if he was surprised about how this played out) "No, I've been confident, and all of us have been confident. We know what kind of person Andre is. His being out here, that's in-character for him. His not being out there, that's not Andre. Andre loves the team, he loves his teammates. He tries to put the team first, and that's why we think so much of him and appreciate him."
(on if it was upsetting to hear people bad-mouth Johnson this week) "Well, most people don't know what all the facts are, and usually they're speaking without the benefit of having full knowledge. You just have to disregard that and not pay any attention to it. He's a quality player and a quality person, and we've always supported him 100 percent and we'll continue doing that because he's a good role model for our team."
(on being inducted into the University of South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame) "Yes, I'm honored to be included with a great group of athletes. I'm looking forward to it, and I was quite pleased by it and surprised. Very happy about it.'
(on being inducted with a former Houston Oiler) "Yes, that's right. Bill Currier. A Gamecock that played for the Oilers and played very well, and a number of other outstanding athletes. So, it's an honor to be included."
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak
(on WR Andre Johnson participating in Day 4 of the OTAs) "It's great to have him back. He's been the heart and soul of this football team for a long time, and I'm just glad to see him back out here."
(on the importance of Johnson returning since he's a team leader) "Like I said the other day, I'm not worried about Andre. I want him ready to play, and nobody works harder than him. You've got to understand, too, that there's about 30 new faces out here that know who he is but haven't seen him in the locker room the past few days. So that's really important, and the energy picked up for the whole group."
(on what is says about Johnson that management didn't plead with him and he just decided to show up) "I can't speak for him on that. I just know I've always got everything he has and that's just part of the business. But for him to be here, he's where he's at because of how hard he works and goes about the game, and it's not going to be any different this year. I'm just very happy to have him back."
(on his initial thoughts when he found out that Johnson would be attending the OTAs) "I ate dinner a lot better last night. I was at Pappas Burgers, so I'll give them a plug. They called and told me that he was coming, so dinner was a lot more enjoyable."
(on DE Mario Williams coming off the field during practice) "I don't know. I'll have to go see. I thought he practiced the whole day. It must have been at the end of practice. The only guy who got nicked today was (WR) Glenn (Martinez). Glenn's hamstring was bothering him a little bit, so we pulled him out. But other than that, I think we're ok."
(on why they haven't been doing much with the kickers these past four days) "What we want to do is create a competitive environment for Neil (Rackers) and Kris (Brown). Neil has a little hamstring issue, so if that takes another week, we'll do it. We'll create a competitive environment in front of the whole team so we can look at them. Everybody knows it's going to be a competitive situation so hopefully we can get that, but I've got to get Neil healthy."
(on what he's seen of the running backs the past four days) "I've been impressed with (Arian) Foster. (He) went from first year to second year a big jump, just watching him practice. Steve (Slaton) is sitting her lining up as a two and he started 15 games two years ago. (Steve) hasn't said a word, just working and that's been very impressive. We need to get the young kid out here. The other two guys they've got some abilities, and we need to see what happens when we put the pads on. Ryan (Moats), I don't know if y'all have noticed, hasn't been here the past two days. He had a family issue, so we'll hopefully get him back here Monday."
(on DT Amobi Okoye) "He's doing fine. Like I said, it's almost like, I don't want to use the word experiment, but it's almost up to us to evaluate how he looks through these OTAs at that weight. I mean obviously he's going to have to have some more to come into camp just because of the wear and tear. He's done a good job, we'll see."
(on having almost 100 percent participation in the voluntary OTAs) "Well, I think that's why we've made progress. Everybody understands the offseason NFL, and our guys have been great. I've had no problems and our team puts pressure on guys to get here by saying, 'We need you here.' I think it just says a lot about the leadership of the team."
Texans WR Andre Johnson(on what it feels like to be back) "It's fun. I've been catching hell from all my teammates since I've been back, but like I said before, I didn't feel right being at home. I never miss OTAs and I've always been here, so I came in."
(on if it was out of character to be out for even two or three days) "Yeah, it was. I'm man enough to say that it was. I'm disappointed about it, but sometimes things happen. I talked to everybody upstairs and there are no grudges and I have no grudges against them, so we're just going to move on from it."
(on if he feels like he made a statement to the organization) "I don't really think you can really win against an organization. When you're under contract, they can hold you to that, and it's up to them to re-do it or give you an extension or whatever they want to do. They really don't have to do nothing. They can sit there and hold me to that contract, and if you choose to sit out and take fines, that's what happens. But I'm past that. I'm over that. I'm here working and I'm going to continue to work, and hopefully we can achieve our goal of getting to the playoffs and winning the Super Bowl."
(on if he thinks he'll get a new deal) "I don't know. Like I said, I came in, I talked to everyone yesterday, both sides said how they felt and that was it. We're both on the same page, and I've moved on from that. I've put that behind me, so I'm out here today."
(on what was discussed in his meeting with the team) "We just basically talked about how both sides felt. They told me how they felt about giving me a new deal, and I told them how I felt. That was pretty much it. I just came in and said that I wanted to be around my teammates. It did bother me just seeing stuff on TV and some of things that I heard. It bothered me a little bit, but that's part of the business."
(on what was said that got him over the hump to get him back with the team) "I don't really think much had to be said. It's just pretty much, both sides just expressed how they felt. Any animosity or anything we had going on is over and done with. Now it's time to move forward, and that's the biggest thing. I took the step of being out here, and some people criticized me for not being out here. There's nothing I can say to that. I'm out here now, and I'm moving forward."
(on if he feels like he outperformed his deal) "Well, you know, everybody has certain feelings, but I'd rather not talk about it."
(on what's next as far as negotiations) "I'm not sure exactly what's next. I don't know a timeframe on anything. My biggest thing right now is just out here working with the team, and that's what I'm going to do. If the contract situation works out, it works out. If not it, it doesn't.
(on if he has given the team any ultimatums) "I'm here, and hopefully everything works out. That's it."
(on his uncle talking about an exit strategy in the past and Johnson saying he had nothing to do with that) "That's very true. You know, he was just speaking his mind when that article came out (in ESPN: The Magazine). Like I said before, I plan on being a Texan 'til the day I retire, and my feelings haven't changed. Everyone has a right to their own opinion, and that was his opinion. You've never seen me going to the media and saying I wanted a new contract. You've never seen me going to the media and saying I wanted to be traded. That's just hearsay. I never came out in the media and made a statement of me wanting to be traded or a new contract or anything like that, so I don't know. That's just hearsay."
(on if he'll be here for training camp with or without a new contract) "I'm here. I'm here right now, so there's nothing else to say about it."
(on what kind of grief the players have been giving him) "It's nothing bad. It's just always jokes. (FB) Vonta (Leach) always cracks jokes about people coming to pick me up on jets and things like that, but nothing like that happens. He's just giving me a hard time."
(on if he feels confident he'll have a deal come training camp) "I don't know. I'm just here to work and help this team get to the playoffs and win the Super Bowl."
(on if he just felt like he needed to be here) "Yeah. That was my biggest thing. I talked to people about it, my family members, and I didn't feel comfortable sitting at home, because that's not me. All the guys were out here working. I felt like I needed to be out here working."