Hey, Houston. Want Andre Johnson back?

Former Texans star wide receiver has yet to make much of a splash with the Colts as he returns to Lone Star State Thursday night.

Yes, Houston, the Indianapolis Colts have a problem.

This can't be the much-anticipated Houston homecoming either wide receiver Andre Johnson or the Colts envisioned. Texans fans mourned the team's offseason decision to release the seven-time Pro Bowl star after 12 seasons, then groaned when he signed with the AFC South Division rival Colts.

But so far, it hasn't been working out. And that might be an understatement.

Johnson hasn't had a single catch in the past two games, the first time that's ever happened in back-to-back games in a 1,019-catch career, as the Colts (2-2) visit the Texans (1-3) on Thursday night at NRG Stadium. Perhaps worse yet, Johnson has been targeted just three times the past two games, which suggests his new team isn't making much of an effort to find the 6-3, 229-pound option.

"I don't know what you all want me to tell you," Johnson said Monday with a chuckle. "Like I said, I'm here to do what I need to do to help the team."

Maybe the lack of production is because the Colts have some talented young receivers in T.Y. HiltonDonte Moncrief and rookie Phillip Dorsett. That's what Johnson says with a shrug, suggesting he knew it would take time to fit in.

But the more popular version of what's going on is that the whispers about the 34-year-old Johnson losing a step are true. He's struggled to get consistent separation, and it's possible the Colts are wary of looking his way because bad things have been happening. In the first three games, quarterback Andrew Luck targeted Johnson 18 times, the receiver caught just seven of those passes for 51 yards, and three were intercepted.

That's not all on Johnson -- at least four throws in the Buffalo season opener were well off target -- but the receiver has also dropped a couple of passes, including a two-point conversion pass against the Bills.

Bottom line, the Colts aren't getting what they paid for -- at least not yet -- in giving Johnson a three-year, $21-million contract with $10 million guaranteed. He's the second-highest-paid player on the roster.

"Any time you've been somewhere for 12 seasons and you make a change, it's challenging," Johnson said. "But at the same time, it's the experience and I'm just rolling with it. I don't have any regrets on anything, any decisions that I've made, and I'm just trying to make the best of my opportunities."

Johnson won't even hint at being disappointed about his numbers. The understated one takes the hard questions in stride.

"Any time in the game, anything can happen," he said. "You have to play 60 minutes in this game. You never know when the play is going to happen that game, (and could) win or lose you the game. A lo tof games, it comes down to just one play and that one play can be huge on the outcome of the game.

"You just have to have an even keel about yourself and just approach every play like it's your last."

Luck, who didn't play Sunday due to a right shoulder injury, has praised Johnson for being the consummate professional and a player he's learned from. The quarterback as well as head coach Chuck Pagano and others say the wide receiver hasn't expressed a trace of discontenment. He practices hard, gives advise to teammates and even celebrates scores with the younger players as if he's still young, too. Johnson joked after a Moncrief TD catch at Tennessee that he jumped higher than the guy who made the play.

"You know you have to be realistic with yourself," he said. "Coming into this situation, I knew what could happen. When you're realistic with yourself and not thinking above and beyond what could happen, you'll be fine and you can deal with it."

After initially trying to downplay his return to Houston, saying he didn't know what to expect, eventually the continual questions produced more of an answer. He looks forward to seeing his daughter and some friends, and can't remember the last time he was in Houston.

"It'll be fun," he said. "I'm pretty sure it will be as loud as hell."

Phillip B. Wilson also can be found on Facebook and Google+.


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