Andre Johnson called it a career on Monday. The former Texans receiver finishes his 14-year run with 1,062 receptions, 14,185 yards and 70 touchdowns.
Very quietly over the past few weeks, the Texans’ two greatest offensive players called it quits in other uniforms. Johnson ends his run as a Tennessee Titan. Arian Foster’s injury riddled career came to an end as a Dolphin.
It’s a sad fact of life that players like this finish up their careers in other uniforms, usually as a shell of their former selves, as was the case with both. The Texans cut ties at the right time with both.
As a Texan, Johnson was dominant for most of his career, even with a poor team around him. You can make a pretty strong case that he is the Texans greatest player, although J.J. Watt is on a pretty serious trajectory to supplant him if he can return to health.
Johnson’s numbers are strong. He is currently in the top 10 in career receptions, although he will likely fall behind Jason Witten, Anquan Boldin and perhaps Steve Smith. In yards, he is 10th, with Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald in range of catching him among active players.
It has long been radio fodder as to whether or not Johnson will be in the Hall of Fame. He really needed one more solid season at the end of his career to solidify his case. But his one-year Colts tenure was a disaster, and he was basically just a body for the Titans this season. It was sad to see an old, slow broken down player just hanging on for a paycheck. It was the right time to quit. Watching him these last few years, it’s easy to forget just how great he once was.
But when his Hall of Fame bid comes up, the negatives will likely be that he never led his team to a Super Bowl — which is a big deal with the voters — and that he did not score enough touchdowns. Fair or not, those will be used against him. His peers will also be a problem. Larry Fitzgerald has similar numbers and did play in a Super Bowl. Isaac Bruce had better numbers and a Super Bowl, and he is not in the Hall of Fame. Neither are players like Terrell Owens and Tory Holt. Reggie Wayne will be competition over the next few years. Randy Moss. Hines Ward. Even Calvin Johnson.
As much as Andre Johnson was a dominant player and one of the best at his position throughout his career, his Hall of Fame resume may come up short. Is he better than some of the receivers in the Hall? Undoubtedly. But he also played in a pass-happy era with lots of inflated numbers. Watching him year in and year out at his best, it is hard to imagine that he is not a Hall of Famer. But the reality is, considering who else is out there, it probably will not happen.
Even if he was the greatest Texan.