The wide receiver essentially introduced himself as a man of few words. His tone was low, the words deliberate and answers succinct, but he seemed at ease surrounded by a throng of reporters.
That’s Johnson, a 13th-year professional who prefers to let his play speak for him. Critics question how much the 33-year-old receiver has left, but it’s not something he’s concerned about.
“I feel like I have a lot of football left,” he said. “I’m not really worried about that too much.”
The Houston Texans’ all-time receiving leader signed a three-year, $21-million contract to essentially replace a good friend, Reggie Wayne. The Texans released Johnson in a salary cap move. The Colts opted not to re-sign Wayne, a six-time Pro Bowl selection and fan favorite, after 14 years.
“You know me and Reggie have always wanted to play together,” Johnson said of his former offseason workout partner. “Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way. I have a lot of respect for Reggie. He’s a great friend of mine. I still talk to him a lot. It’s just an unfortunate situation. I really wish he was still here.”
Johnson admitted being frustrated with the Texans the past two years — he openly questioned that team’s direction at times — and said joining the Colts is “like a breath of fresh air.” He’s been impressed so far by quarterback Andrew Luck during offseason training activities.
“He throws a great ball and probably the best quarterback I ever played with,” he said of the three-time Pro Bowl star. “I’m excited about the opportunity. I just can’t wait to continue to keep working with him.”
The seven-time Pro Bowl selection has caught 1,102 passes for 13,597 yards and 64 touchdowns in his stellar career.
Johnson reiterated he chose the Colts because he was convinced playing with Luck gave him the best chance at an elusive Super Bowl ring. He played in just four career playoff games with the Texans, who never advanced past the second round. His former AFC South team usually came up short against the Colts, who have won the division nine out of 13 years.
Running back Frank Gore, Johnson’s University of Miami buddy, had the same motivation for joining the Colts. The San Francisco 49ers all-time leading rusher signed a three-year, $12-million deal last month.
“I’m just looking forward to the opportunity. It’s a great group of guys,” Johnson said. “They welcomed me with open arms and guys (here) are very excited that work their butts off. I’m just here just finding my way and trying to fit in.”
That shouldn’t be a problem. He was always the go-to No. 1 option in the Lone Star State. He doesn’t have to be with the Colts, who have Pro Bowl wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, promising second-year pro Donte Moncrief and signed Canadian Football League star Duron Carter. The Colts also have decent playmakers in tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener.
“There’s a lot of talent in that room,” he said of wide receiver meetings. “We’re all out there trying to help each other and make each other better so that we can go out and perform well as a group every Sunday.”
The Colts, who have won the last two AFC South titles and finished the past three seasons 11-5, are considered strong Super Bowl contenders. They reached the AFC title game last year — losing 45-7 at New England — and added several key pieces in free agency.
He reiterated, like many of his new teammates, the Super Bowl is the ultimate goal.
“When you’re in a situation where you can pick what team you want to go to, that’s the biggest decision. That’s the reason why I’m here,” he said. “I feel like this is the best place where I can be able to accomplish that. That’s why I chose to come play with the Colts.”
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.