Numerous reports Friday morning indicate that Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson has reported to training camp and will begin workouts with the team. This comes amid much speculation that the disgruntled veteran had been present at NRG Stadium early in the week though his agent would not confirm it and reports from various media outlets stated this was not indicative of Johnson's imminent return.
Since the end of last season's 2-14 debacle, Johnson, who is under contract for two more seasons, reportedly has been unhappy with the team. The Texans dealt Matt Schaub to Raiders and fired head coach Gary Kubiak and while they did replace Kubiak with Bill O'Brien, someone that seems to now have Johnson's respect, they did not draft a high profile quarterback and head into training camp with Ryan Fitzpatrick as the presumed starter.
Johnson, 34, skipped both voluntary workouts and the mandatory OTAs required by the team and has been ambivalent about whether or not he would return to the team that drafted him. The core issue seemed to stem from the fact that the final season of Johnson's contract is not guaranteed meaning the Texans could cut him before next offseason without having to pay him, a common practice with long-term contracts. Johnson reportedly wanted the Texans to guarantee the final year of his deal, something the team was unlikely to do given the wide receiver's age and the need for cap space to re-sign JJ Watt.
Once Johnson missed OTAs, he also lost out on a million-dollar roster bonus. Numerous reports claimed Johnson would come back to the team if they agreed to pay the bonus assuming Johnson made up the workouts. No report yet if the team agreed to do so, but it has been suggested that the Texans do not want to set the precedent of rewarding players who skip workouts, even player's of Johnson's stature.
His veteran presence will certainly be a boost to a team that only has DeAndre Hopkins, the second year wideout, behind him in the receiver rotation. Additionally, Johnson is an icon, far and away the greatest player ever to put on a Texans uniform. During offseason workouts, running back Arian Foster called Houston, "Andre's town."
For now, that appears to remain the case.
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