Andre Johnson Dissed

Andre Johnson utterly disrespected by Texans: Keenum proved No. 80 still rules, now he'll win big elsewhere

Andre Johnson disrespected by Texans: Keenum proved No. 80 still rules

Bill O'Brien Andre Johnson Texans
Texans coach Bill O'Brien seemed to point Andre Johnson toward the door in a talk about his 2015 role in Houston. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Andre Johnson Texans Titans
Andre Johnson is still more than capable of using his powerful frame to be a big impact receiver in the NFL. Photo by Michelle Watson/CultureMapSnap
Case Keenum Andre Johnson Texans Colts
With Case Keenum at quarterback, Andre Johnson saw his touchdown numbers rise. Photo by Michelle Watson/CultureMap Snap
Bill O'Brien Andre Johnson Texans
Andre Johnson Texans Titans
Case Keenum Andre Johnson Texans Colts

The Greatest Texan Ever is on the way out the door, pushed there by a ridiculous and utterly disrespectful reimagining of his role in Houston. Andre Johnson will all but assuredly leave the only franchise he's ever known to make a run at winning a Super Bowl elsewhere now.

This is apparently what Bill O'Brien and everyone else with any real power at NRG Stadium wants.

There is no other explanation for why O'Brien reportedly told Johnson that his role would be reduced to catching 40 passes and serving as a part-time starter if he played for the Texans in 2015.

Trying to spin this as Andre Johnson's doing by pointing out that he's now asked to be traded or cut is the ultimate clumsy cop out. The Texans forced Johnson's hand by dropping that 40-catch, sometime starter bombshell on him.

 Andre Johnson — The All-Time Greatest Texan — will end up exiting Houston only one season after the disastrous Matt Schaub. 

You don't say that to a franchise legend unless you're trying to box him into a corner — one with a trap door in it. It may not be an outright kick out the doors of NRG, but it's sure as hell an awfully strong nudge.

Anyone who knows Andre Johnson at all knows he's not signing off on that plan. And why should he? Outside of budding star DeAndre Hopkins the Texans have absolutely no other pass catchers on their roster who are elite level NFL talents.

How can O'Brien be certain at this point in the calendar that Andre Johnson wouldn't be the second best receiving option the Texans have just like he was last season? And why tell Johnson that now if the coach is not certain — unless it's to nudge No. 80 along to another franchise?

Unless O'Brien knows for a fact that a Wes Welker or a Jeremy Maclin are signing with Houston, something stinks about the situation.

"I just laughed at 'em," Johnson tells the Houston Chronicle's Jerome Solomon about his reaction to the 40-catch plan. Who can blame him for that? It's a completely disrespectful premise.

Johnson's shown he is still an impact player when he has a quarterback capable of getting him the football. Johnson closed last season with a 10-catch, 134-yard throwback masterpiece with Case Keenum throwing to him. A more than capable Jaguars defense could not stop him from using his powerful frame and still dominantly strong hands to snag catch after catch after catch.

The Case Keenum Truth Light

In fact, with Keenum playing quarterback, No. 80 collected 16 catches and 199 yards in the season's last two games. Yes, Johnson's almost 34 and on the books for a $10.5 million salary in 2015, but he's anything but a washed up relic.

When Andre Johnson has a real capable quarterback who understands how to get him the football, he's still a force. (Just check out his touchdown numbers with Keenum at quarterback.)

 With Keenum at quarterback, No. 80 collected 16 catches and 199 yards in the last two games. He's no washed up relic. 

Bill O'Brien really thinks he's better off without No. 80?

To be fair, so far we've only heard Andre Johnson and his camp's side of the story. Maybe, O'Brien tried to sell that reduced role as something of a football version of Gregg Popovich's resting of his stars in San Antonio. Maybe, the coach argued that by using Johnson less the Texans could save him for the bigger moments.

Maybe, O'Brien only mentioned Johnson sometimes not starting to highlight his drive toward situational football and opponent determined shifting lineups in general.

Maybe . . . . awfully big maybes.

There's no denying that O'Brien went out of his way to show Johnson great respect last offseason through those holdout threats. Of course, that was also before O'Brien held the currency of a near playoff berth in his rookie NFL head coaching season.

A clear truth is that Andre Johnson's a great receiver and Bill O'Brien's a great coach who will not be together next season. 

Andre Johnson — The All-Time Greatest Texan — will end up exiting Houston only one season after the disastrous Matt Schaub.

There's something devastatingly sad about that. And forced.