Breakups. Divorce. These things are never easy, and the longer the relationship lasted, the more difficult the severing of ties can be, for both sides. The best that you can probably hope for is that you reach a stage of respectful acceptance. However, before you get there, you'll likely go through a Kubler-Ross-ian set of stages — denial, anger…. you know the model.
Well, if Friday's appearance on Dan LeBetard's radio show in Miami is any indicator, Andre Johnson appears to still be stuck in some sort of passive-aggressive version of slight bitterness over how his last couple years as a Houston Texan played out.
As we all know, Johnson was released by the Texans back in early March after reportedly sitting down with management to discuss what appeared to be a diminished role going forward with the team. It likely would have included an accompanying pay cut if it ever made it that far, but it didn't make it that far. Johnson immediately suggested the team go ahead and release him, the Texans obliged, and days later Andre Johnson
clubbed the entire city of Houston over the head with a chair when he signed a three year deal with the Indianapolis Colts.
Now, at least in the "fresh" stages after the breakup between Johnson and his employer of over a decade, the future Hall of Fame wide receiver has become more and more forthcoming with his true feelings about his time as a Texan, or at least the latter stages of it, which were marked by disappointment, frustration over unfulfilled Super Bowl dreams, and a sea of pick sixes the size of the Atlantic Ocean.
Below are excerpts from the interview with LeBetard:
How does your career play out differently if you'd had a great QB your entire career?
"I think my numbers would be better than what they are now. You know, I just try to make the best of what I've had, and you know, I never complained about it. I just went out there and gave it my all. I stand by what I've been able to accomplish, and I'm excited by this new opportunity."
What was the most frustrating time in Houston?
"Probably the past two seasons. The year we went 2-14, Coach Kubiak being fired. Going through the whole process again of having a new coach, learning a new system. My past two seasons there were pretty miserable. I could tell you it was hard for me to even go to work. Just excited about this new opportunity now, can't wait to get it all going."
Have you ever been miserable enough to enjoy not going to work?
"Nah, that's probably the first time that's ever happened."
Was it the losing or the QB having difficulty getting you the ball or both?
"When you've been somewhere for a while, just a number of things that went on from the time I've been there. When you're a young player, you really don't understand everything that goes on, the business side of football. You're just kind of excited to be in the NFL, and just want to play. Over time, you just watch things play out, watch moves that are made within the organization, some things you just don't understand. It just kind of became frustrating, some of the things that were going on there. I guess they don't like when players voice their opinions, and I voiced my opinion about some things and they didn't agree with it. It is what it is. I'm a Colt now, and that's what I'm looking forward to."
"Sometimes, you just keep your mouth closed, and try to control the things that you can control. But after a while, when you're out there putting your body on the line, you've been very loyal to the organization, sometimes thing just need to be said. I just got to the point where I felt like I needed to voice my opinion about some things. That didn't go over the right way with them, so it is what it is."
What parts of the business with the Texans were disillusioning to you?
"Probably the biggest thing was the QB situation. People who actually think how you feel about certain things, but then when you give your opinion, they tell you something and do the opposite. That was the biggest thing, talking to you about certain stuff, and even doing contract stuff to help the team and nothing was coming of it."
What were your choices?
"The Colts were the team that I wanted to go to. The best team with a chance to win a Super Bowl, and play with a great quarterback."
Andre Johnson has always been one of the more underrated interviews in the NFL. Sometimes people misconstrue his monotone demeanor for boring answers, but I couldn't disagree more. Johnson has always, in my opinion, been brutally honest in his assessment of most things. The one thing, though, that in retrospect, he was clearly covering up his true feelings for (at least until he stormed off the field before the conclusion of the Oakland game in 2013) was Matt Schaub. In every interview, every press conference, even during the darkest moments of the Schaub Era, Johnson always had his quarterback's back, even when it was completely unjustifiable.
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It's clear now that was just Johnson's being a good teammate; now that he is no longer Schaub's teammate, Johnson can at least acknowledge the "quarterback issue" with the Texans since the franchise was born, even if he doesn't refer to Schaub by name. In many respects, Johnson is merely expressing the sentiments of many Texans fans in the interview with LeBetard. The quarterback situation did suck when Johnson was here. HOWEVER….
Johnson did sign a contract extension with the Texans (actually, held out for more money for like three days in OTA's) in 2010, right smack dab in the middle of the Matt Schaub Era. Granted, 2010 was the height of whatever meager powers Schaub may have possessed, but still, if you want the flexibility to find a home with an elite quarterback, don't sign a long-term extension with the team. It's really that simple.
Somehow, Andre Johnson managed to come across in this interview as simultaneously sympathetic and a slight crybaby. That's Hall of Fame interview material right there! Either way, I think we can all agree that Johnson's continued passive aggressive piñata style thwacking of Matt Schaub is entertaining, if nothing else.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast.