Ever since Andre Johnson retired from the NFL midway through the 2017 season, the speculation has been rampant as to how the Houston Texans would honor the franchise's first true superstar player (and possible Hall of Famer). When he signed a one-day contract earlier this year to officially retire as a Houston Texan, the speculation reached a fever pitch.
Would the Texans retire Johnson's number? Would they create a Ring of Honor and make him the first inductee? Would they build a statue of him beating the snot out of Cortland Finnegan?
On Tuesday morning we got our answer. The Texans, in conjunction with revealing the various themes of their home games this season, announced that Johnson would become the first Houston Texan inducted into the team's Ring of Honor. The ceremony will take place on November 19, as part of the festivities of Homecoming Day, which includes an actual football game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Houston Texans.
Courtesy of a press release from the team:
Coinciding with the Homecoming Game presented by Palais Royal on Sunday, Nov. 19 against the Arizona Cardinals, the Texans will induct Andre Johnson as the inaugural member of the team’s Ring of Honor during a halftime ceremony. The former Texans receiver, who spent 12 seasons with the team, signed a one-day contract on Wednesday, April 19 to officially retire as a member of the Texans. Johnson earned seven Pro Bowl berths with Houston and remains the team’s all-time leader in receptions (1,012), receiving yards (13,597) and receiving touchdowns (64).
For those interested, here are the remaining home game themes:
Sat., Aug. 19 vs New England Patriots, 7 p.m.
State of Football/NFL Play Football presented by Verizon
Thu., Aug. 31 vs Dallas Cowboys, 7 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 10 vs Jacksonville Jaguars, Noon
Liberty White Out presented by BHP Billiton
Sun., Oct. 1 vs Tennessee Titans, Noon
Kids Day – A Celebration of PLAY 60 presented by Texas Children’s Hospital
Sun., Oct. 8 vs Kansas City Chiefs, 7:30 p.m.
Pink Ribbon Day/NFL Crucial Catch presented by Kroger
Sun., Oct. 15 vs Cleveland Browns, Noon
Deep Steel Sunday presented by Hyundai
Sun., Nov. 5 vs Indianapolis Colts, Noon
Salute to Service presented by Bud Light
Sun., Nov. 19 vs Arizona Cardinals, Noon
Homecoming presented by Palais Royal/Andre Johnson Ring of Honor induction
Sun., Dec. 10 vs San Francisco 49ers, Noon
Battle Red Day presented by Halliburton
Mon., Dec. 25 vs Pittsburgh Steelers, 3:30 p.m.
Fan Appreciation Day
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Back to Johnson for a moment, and a couple of thoughts — first, I'm glad this is the route the team is choosing to honor its great players. I'm not a fan of number retirement, if for no other reason than that it's nonsensical to me to retire something of which there is a finite number. I get that the dearth of numbers won't be a problem for decades, even centuries; I just hate stuff that doesn't make sense. Also, this adds a new wrinkle to future young wide receivers who are highly drafted — does Andre Johnson let them wear No. 80? (He should have a say, in my opinion.)
Second, the induction of Johnson sets the bar awfully high for "What does it take to get into the team's Ring of Honor?" Theoretically, the only no-brainer, if Johnson is the bar, is J.J. Watt. My guess is that Watt won't be the next one. Eventually Duane Brown will retire, and I'd imagine he's a virtual lock (pending contract holdout notwithstanding). Perhaps Arian Foster as well, and maybe Brian Cushing, based largely on longevity with the team.
Regardless, November 19 will be a day 15 years in the making for Houston Texans fans. Andre Johnson will be locally immortalized.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.