Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson has ended his holdout with the team, reporting to the first day of training camp on Friday.
"I just love playing the game of football," Johnson said at a news conference. "Being here, being around my teammates, there’s nothing like being around that."
Johnson said after talking to new head coach Bill O’Brien, he feels comfortable with the direction of the team, prompting him to end his holdout and show up to camp.
"We talked about everything, I felt comfortable," Johnson said. "Like I said, I like playing this game of football. I’m going to play football, I don’t plan on walking away from this."
After missing offseason workouts and mandatory minicamp, there was speculation Johnson also would hold out from training camp. Despite missing time from the team, he and O’Brien were keeping in contact during the offseason.
"Since [O’Brien] became the head coach, we had great dialogue," Johnson said. "Just from the way he explained it, it seemed to me it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’ll be a little bit different for me. It’ll be a good challenge for me as far as me learning things because it is different from what we’ve been doing in the past."
Johnson reportedly requested a trade out of Houston recently, with the team denying the request. He now chalks up the struggle between him and the Texans to voicing his opinion from the ups and downs he has experienced over his previous 11 years with the team.
"I just think when you’ve been through so much with the organization, I’ve been here going on 12 years now, there’s been a lot of things that have happened. I’ve never really just voiced my opinion," Johnson said. "I think at times there comes a time when you don’t agree with something, things need to be said. I think it was more frustrating for me not being around my teammates."
The veteran receiver said he has put his quarrel with the Texans behind him, and is ready to get started. Johnson did state he has seen a noticeable difference with this year’s squad compared to seasons past due to the new coaching regime in place.
"From talking to Bill (O’Brien), the conversations we had, the few hours I’ve spent with my teammates, just the whole atmosphere of just being here the past few hours is totally different than it has been in the past," Johnson said. "Guys are excited, the atmosphere is more upbeat probably than it has ever been."
When asked whether or not he hoped to finish his playing career in Houston, Johnson said: "That’s my plan."
Johnson is the Texans’ longest-tenured player, spending his entire 11-year career in Houston. Last season he caught 109 passes for 1,407 yards and five touchdowns.
The Texans take the field for the first time Saturday as training camp kicks off for the 2014 season.