Before I get into my thoughts on No. 80, I have two reminders. 1) I'll be doing my weekly Live Chat today from 1-2 p.m. Stop on by and send in your queries... the more, the merrier. 2) Rookie linebacker Brian Cushing will be in the Go Texan Store at Reliant Stadium to sign autographs today from 6-7 p.m.
Now, in case you haven't seen this, Andre Johnson is a man. It might sound a bit ostentatious to say, but what happened on Sunday is the stuff that legends are made of.
Hurt in the second quarter on an 18-yard catch. Had trouble breathing but played through it for almost for the whole game. Made a ridiculous leaping, twisting 44-yard catch between two defenders in the fourth quarter to set up the Texans' game-winning field goal. Fell to his knees on the field and started coughing up blood two plays later. Went to the training room to be looked at. Snuck out so he could get back on the field. Went back in briefly before Texans staff members had to hide his helmet so that he couldn't go out there again.
As coach Gary Kubiak said on Monday, "That's him. He wants to do whatever he can do to help this team win."
This is what makes Johnson so special. This is what separates him from other NFL receivers and makes him such a respected leader in the Texans' locker room. This is what his coaches and teammates mean when they say Johnson puts the team ahead of himself.
It's reminiscent of a few weeks ago, when Johnson had only two catches against the Oakland Raiders but the Texans won 29-6. After the game, Johnson said that Kubiak had approached him on the sidelines and assured him they would get him the ball more.
"I just said, 'Coach, you know I'm not worried about that; I just want to do whatever I need to do to help the team win games,'" Johnson said. "Because we went out and ran the ball 40-something times and I only had two catches, I'm not worried about that. I'm just excited about the win we got today."
Yesterday, Kubiak announced that Johnson has a lung contusion and will be evaluated day-to-day this week. The team is optimistic that he'll be able to play against the Bills on Sunday.
Here's betting that we'll see Johnson back on the field sooner rather than later.