Monday afternoon, Tennessee Titans receiver Andre Johnson announced his retirement from the NFL. Johnson’s unexpected retirement came within days after his former teammate, Arian Foster, of the Miami Dolphins announced his retirement. Regardless of playing for subpar teams throughout his career, Johnson will have a spot in the Hall.
From 2003-2013, Johnson showcased his lethal skills that turned him from a college prep to one of the best players of his generation. It’s commonplace for Johnson to be mentioned among the top receivers of the new millennium.
As the No. 3 pick out of Miami, Johnson spent the prime of his career as the Houston Texans franchise player.
Unlike Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, and Hines Ward, who played alongside pro-bowl quarterbacks, Johnson managed to rank among the NFL’s best with the likes of David Carr and Matt Schaub throwing him the ball.
Despite playing alongside low-quality quarterbacks, Johnson recorded seven 1,000-plus-yard seasons. He surpassed the 1,500-yard milestone three times and finished his Texan career with 64 receiving touchdowns.
Unfortunately for Johnson, his brilliant play on the field was never enough to turn the Texans into a title contender.
During Johnson’s 12 years in Houston, the Texans recorded an unpleasant 84-108 record. Their best season came during the 2012 season, in which Houston finished with a franchise-best 12-4, before losing to the New England Patriots in the divisional round.
After a stellar career in Houston, Johnson spent the final two years of his career as a shell of his former self. First, falling way short of expectations with the Indianapolis Colts, later as a member of the Tennessee Titans.
Even after the mediocre end to his career, Johnson’s numbers can stack up against the all-time greats. In 14 years, Johnson was a seven-time Pro Bowl receiver, 10th in career receiving yards (14,185) and ninth in career receptions (1,062). For a team that has only been in existence for 14 years, Johnson is by far the greatest Texan in franchise history.
One should not judge Johnson’s career base off his lack of NFL success. He gave his all on the field every Sunday, and it’s unfortunate that Houston’s record does not support his greatness. However, on an individual standpoint, Andre Johnson will go down as one of the greatest receivers of all-time.