NFL

Johnson can't appreciate big season with Texans mired in skid

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The Canadian Press
12/25/2013 4:35:52 PM
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HOUSTON - 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 favour of Case Keenum.

But the losing continued with the undrafted, record-setting University of Houston quarterback running the offence. 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 off-season 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

Andre Johnson (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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