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 said 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,” Johnson 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 selected 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.
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 and his 1,358 yards receiving rank fifth. 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.
He has a shot at setting another NFL mark on Sunday. 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.