Andre Johnson has not suited up in a Texans uniform in nearly three years. However, his influence still permeates throughout the locker room where he left a lasting impression on former teammates.
Pro Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins attributes his entire work ethic to Johnson. Learning from the 14-year veteran helped shape Hopkins into the dynamic NFL Pro he is today.
"The way I go about every day, I would say honestly is due to Andre Johnson," Hopkins said. "The way I wake up and the mindset I have. I'm going to work and this is going to be the best practice that I have. Approaching every day like it's my last day to do what I love, just watching him and that's how he approached every day he came to work at least when I saw him."
Andre Johnson will be the first player to be inducted into the Texans Ring of Honor on Nov. 19. Today, the city of Houston will issue a proclamation for Andre Johnson Day to celebrate his career and his leadership in the community.
"It's kind of like confirmation on my career," Johnson said. "To be the first player to go into the Ring of Honor, as a kid, you don't think about stuff like that. I just wanted to be a good football player and just go out and do my best on the field. So to have that happen, I'm sure it will be an amazing feeling."
Johnson, 36, spent the last two seasons of his career with the Indianapolis Colts and the Tennessee Titans, respectively, until he announced his retirement last October. Johnson still continued his annual charity work in Houston, such as handing out Thanksgiving turkeys in the Fifth Ward or taking children in Child Protective Services on a shopping spree for Christmas gifts.
On April 19, 2017, the two-time All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver signed a one-day contract with Houston, officially retiring as a Texan. Texans Chief Operating Officer Cal McNair, General Manager Rick Smith, and Johnson's family were on hand for the press conference which kicked off with a highlight reel of Johnson's storied career.
Now retired, Johnson calls Houston his home, cheering for the Texans as a fan and continuing his charity work in the community.
"I was in Miami my whole life, grew up there, went to college there and then I'd never really been out of Miami until I came to Houston," Johnson said. "It was different at first, just getting to know the city and it was just something that grew on me. I fell in love with the city. I always said I would never forget where I come from and if I was able to make it, I wanted to help people. That's what I tried to do. I tried to help as much as I can."
In his 12 seasons with Houston (2003-14), Johnson became the Texans all-time leading receiver with 1,012 receptions for 13,597 yards and 64 touchdowns. Johnson reached many career milestones as a Texan, including becoming the second-fastest player to reach both 13,000 yards and 1,000 receptions, doing so in 160 and 168 games, respectively. During his highlight-reel worthy career, Johnson has been one of the premier pass catchers to ever step on the football field.
Johnson says he will never forget the fans or the memories he created as a Houston Texan.
"They are the best fans in the NFL, very supportive," Johnson said. "I just thank them for embracing me and I just hope that I gave them enough memories to last a lifetime. It was great performing in front of them on Sundays and I hope I played the game the right way for them and made them proud."