Andre Johnson had his issues with the Houston Texans’ direction at times, but the wide receiver reiterated Friday his recent signing with the AFC South Division rival Indianapolis Colts had nothing to do with getting some payback.
It’s about joining a Super Bowl contender and having the opportunity to play with quarterback Andrew Luck.
He stressed these reasons when he signed with the Colts in March, and again on Friday in Houston while being honored for his community work with a women’s center.
Johnson actually had nothing negative to say about the team which released him, The Houston Chronicle reported.
“(Leaving the Texans) hasn’t even really set in yet,” said the team’s franchise receiving leader. “I was just talking about that with someone (Thursday). Everybody thinks that I went to the Colts to try and get back at the Texans and stuff like that. That had nothing to do with it. I just went to the … place where I felt was the best fit for me and where I can have a chance to win a championship.
“It wasn’t about circling (game) dates or nothing against the Texans. I had 12 great years here. Been around some great people, built some great relationships, a lot of great friends. Houston’s always going to be my home. I have nothing bad against the Texans.”
The Colts will learn when Johnson is to face his old team when the NFL schedule is announced tonight. He’s in Indianapolis to begin the eight-week offseason training activities at the team complex.
Johnson said of playing with Luck, “I can’t wait to get it going. It’ll be different. But at the same time, it’s still football. I’ll go in, adjust, learn … try to fit in to help win games.”
Luck has led the Colts to the playoffs and been named to the Pro Bowl in each of his three NFL seasons. Johnson has never played with an elite quarterback and has played in just four playoff games in his 173-game career. Both times, the Texans lost in the AFC Divisional playoff round. He caught 25 passes for 358 yards and one touchdown in those games.
Johnson, who turns 34 on July 11, had 1,012 receptions for 13,597 yards and 64 touchdowns in his Texans career. But the Colts typically had the upper hand — they’re 22-4 against the Texans, including 5-1 in the Luck era. The Houston franchise has never won in Indianapolis in 13 years.
Johnson, like Luck the face of a franchise, upset fans by signing with a rival. He had been critical of the direction of the Texans' franchise in the past, voicing his frustration for not winning more, but he didn't mention any of that.
He did share his personal story for why he's been so active with the women's center.
“Where would we be without our mothers?” Johnson said. “I grew up in a single-parent home. I knew how things were. I grew up without my father. I can understand some situations that other people go through.”
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.