Johnson a bright spot for terrible Texans

Andre Johnson is having another great season for the Houston

Texans.

The star receiver certainly isn’t celebrating it with the Texans

mired in a franchise-record 13-game skid.

He told The Associated Press this week that dealing with another

terrible season after already suffering through the lean times

early in franchise history has taken the joy out of playing the

game he loves.

”You don’t expect to go back through it,” said. ”You think

you’re past that stage as a team … it is no fun at all.”

Despite his frustration with this year, Johnson has remained

Houston’s most reliable leader.

”It’s amazing. Andre is just the consummate pro. He’s always

positive,” interim coach Wade Phillips said. ”He’s always making

plays. It’s tremendous the number of plays he’s made … that just

says so much about him. And if you know him as a person, he’s even

better.”

This has been the most painful season for Johnson because the

Texans were coming off consecutive playoff appearances and were

expected to contend for a Super Bowl. Instead, they need a win at

Tennessee on Sunday to avoid matching their franchise-worst record

of 2-14 from 2005.

If the Texans lose on Sunday, they will be guaranteed the top

overall pick in April’s draft.

Johnson is the only player remaining on the team from the 2005

season. He has been with the Texans since their second season after

being drafted third overall in the 2003 draft.

He went through four losing seasons with David Carr at

quarterback before the Texans picked up Matt Schaub and the

franchise began to turn around. The Texans won back-to-back AFC

South titles and looked to take the next step this season.

But Schaub had the worst stretch of his career and was benched

after six games in favor of Case Keenum.

But the losing continued with the undrafted, record-setting

University of Houston quarterback running the offense. Now it looks

like Johnson is likely to be catching passes from another

quarterback next season.

Johnson isn’t spending time worrying about Houston’s quarterback

situation, especially because the Texans don’t know who their coach

will be in 2014 after Gary Kubiak’s recent firing.

”You just have to wait and see what happens,” he said. ”You

don’t necessarily know if it’s going to be a rookie quarterback or

a veteran guy. We don’t even have a coach yet.”

Johnson is second in the NFL with 103 receptions in 2013 and his

1,358 yards receiving are fifth in the league. He tied an NFL

record for most seasons with at least 100 receptions on Sunday,

reaching the mark for the fifth time in his career.

This Sunday he has a shot at setting another NFL mark. Johnson

needs 142 yards to become the first player in NFL history to have

at least 100 receptions and 1,500 yards receiving in four seasons.

This is Johnson’s seventh season with at least 1,000 yards

receiving and he surpassed 12,000 yards for his career earlier this

year.

”I think the ultimate goal is to win and win the

championship,” Johnson said. ”So I think the records and stuff

like that is something you’ll look at once your career is over to

see what you’ve accomplished since you’ve been in the league.”

Johnson will turn 33 this summer, raising the question how much

longer he’ll be able to play at this level, and if time is running

out for him to reach his goal of winning the Super Bowl. But this

tough season hasn’t dampened his optimism that Houston will turn

things around next year.

”You can make moves and put yourself into contention,” he

said. ”There are going to be some decisions made this offseason

with the new coach and everything like that. Hopefully, as an

organization, we’ll make some moves to put us in contention where

we can go out and compete to hopefully win that Super Bowl.”

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org