Where will Andre Johnson be come Friday?
That's the question on every Texan fan's mind as we head toward the end of the week and the beginning of Training Camp 2014. Will he remain away from the team, working out on his own at home? Will he happily just trot out with the wide receivers, get in line and begin drills?
My personal preference: I'm hoping Andre Johnson just sits at the top of the scissor lift in a black trench coat with Crow face paint, à la Sting in WCW 1997, and when the time is right, he drops down from the sky and starts belting the coaching staff and front office with a black plastic bat.
(Have I also mentioned I'm on vacation this week and I'm quite possibly drunk right now?)
Well, if you're looking for any indicators as to how this whole thing plays out, we may have gotten one early this week.
ESPN's Tania Ganguli got the party started on Tuesday morning:
Good sign for the #Texans: receiver Andre Johnson was at NRG Stadium yesterday, sources said.
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) July 22, 2014
Word on the street was that Johnson was in the building to begin learning the team's new offense, although certain restrictions on what Johnson can and can't do based on the calendar cast doubt on exactly how much studying he could be doing. Players generally have access to team facilities even during down time so they can work out and stay on any plan the team may have for them leading up to training camp.
Even though this development is positive on every level, it still does not guarantee that Johnson will be in camp this weekend when the 2014 journey begins. For his part, Johnson's agent, Kennard McGuire, kept things intentionally unclear as to Johnson's future plans:
"I am not refuting, confirming or denying any reports or stories," McGuire said. "Per the (NFL) collective bargaining agreement, there's a period in which veteran players are not allowed to participate or be in their team's facilities, and that period is as such.
"While I am personally in contact with the Texans organization, those conversations will remain between myself, the organization and Andre Johnson."
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Johnson has been publicly conflicted with the team since offseason activities started up back in May, to the point where he's expressed doubt about his desire to remain with the organization.
If Johnson chooses to skip the beginning of training camp, the team could fine him $30,000 for each day missed. For what it's worth, Johnson's public comments on head coach Bill O'Brien have been generally positive, and vice versa.
So now we wait. Friday will tell us if Johnson's appearance at the stadium was a positive sign or if he was just picking up his mail.