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Andre Johnson Lessons

Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons dissing Rockets fools should learn from how Texans handled Andre Johnson

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Bob McNair Andre Johnson hug
Andre Johnson is back in the embrace of Bob McNair and the Texans. Photo by Michelle Watson/CultureMapSnap
Jeremy Lin Game 6
The Houston Rockets needlessly pushed important players like Jeremy Lin away while the Texans always stayed classy with Andre Johnson. Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images
Bill O'Brien Texans practice
New Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien clearly won the staredown with Andre Johnson. But he didn't ever embarrass Johnson and let No. 80 save plenty of face.  Photo by Michelle Watson/CultureMapSnap
Chandler Parsons laugh
Chandler Parsons felt the disrespect from the Rockets that's become par for the course with any player not named Harden or Howard under Daryl Morey. Courtesy of Inside Hoops
Andre Johnson Texans Raiders
Andre Johnson hasn't always found things easy with the Texans, but he's still around, fighting for yards. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
Bob McNair Andre Johnson hug
Jeremy Lin Game 6
Bill O'Brien Texans practice
Chandler Parsons laugh
Andre Johnson Texans Raiders
News_Chris Baldwin_managing editor_arms crossed

Andre Johnson returns to the Houston Texans to get a respectful slow clap from his teammates having gained little of any concrete value. But he also never lost face.

And that's critical. That makes this largely drama free reentry into the fold possible.

Make no mistake. New Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien clearly won this staredown with All-Time Greatest Texan. Johnson is back in time for the Texans first training camp practice Saturday without any money added to his contract, without any new written out no-cut agreement, without even that $1 million in lost workout bonuses he wanted the franchise to pay him.

This win is so complete it's near Bill Belichick worthy— as much as O'Brien may flinch at those types of comparisons. But O'Brien never rubbed Johnson's face in it.

 It's called being a grown up — and putting the team first. The Rockets might want to consider taking some notes. 

O'Brien clearly doesn't feel the need to tell the media how smart he is. The new Texans leader is clear departure from the Daryl Morey and Jeff Luhnow school of management in Houston. O'Brien's lack of ego paved the way for Johnson's return. You're more out of touch than Tony Dungy if you think O'Brien is really all right with Johnson skipping the Texans' entire offseason program.

But O'Brien never gave into any temptation to lash out in the media. He never made it about him. He only treated No. 80 with complete respect. And now he has his best receiver back — on the terms O'Brien wanted all along.

There couldn't be a shaper contrast to the way the Rockets bungled — and continue to bungle — the Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons dismissals than how O'Brien and the Texans handled Andre Johnson.

On the same day that Johnson returns to the Texans, the controversy between Parsons and the Rockets grabs more and more headlines. All because James Harden feels the need to make egotistical remarks about how everyone but him and Dwight Howard are mere "role players" on Morey's roster.

This after Howard dismisses Parsons with his loss "won't affect us at all."

On the same day that Jeremy Lin is introduced in Los Angeles — and gets asked questions about all the blatant ways the Rockets disrespected him (pulling him from the starting lineup without cause, showing Carmelo Anthony in his No. 7 Rockets jersey, etc, etc  . . .), the Texans are already moving on from Johnson's absence and pulling him into the embrace of O'Brien's Good Vibes camp.

"The whole atmosphere, just being here the past few hours is totally different than it has been in the past," Johnson says on return day, with his remarks broadcast live on 610 AM. "Guys are excited. The atmosphere is more upbeat probably than it's ever been."

That's the sound of a controversy coming to a close. No one will be talking about Andre Johnson skipping the Texans offseason program two weeks from now. Everyone's still talking about Lin and Parsons abrupt dismissals from the Rockets two weeks after they were gracelessly ushered out the door (Lin by trade and Parsons by boneheaded rookie contract option decision) and they'll still be talking about it two months from now.

The difference comes in the amount of respect shown.

The Texans and O'Brien always keep the rightfully fiercely proud Johnson's feelings in mind. The Rockets and Morey treat Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons like disposable pawns, theirs to do with however they please.

McNair Jumps In, Alexander MIA

The Texans owner also gets involved. Bob McNair once again steps up to the plate — and makes Johnson feel valuable and almost courted in a way O'Brien and general manager Rick Smith can not as hard-line decision makers. McNair tells Johnson he wants him to retire as a Texan without making things messy for O'Brien by contractually rewarding No. 80 for his absence by guaranteeing any of that in writing.

It's a human touch, an in-touch owner's grace, that makes a major difference — which is exactly the type of thing the Rockets sorely lacked. Leslie Alexander stays on the sideline as his franchise's roster is ripped apart. McNair acts.

 On the same day Lin is introduced in LA — and gets asked about all the ways the Rockets disrespected him — the Texans are already moving on with Andre. 

The Texans couldn't have snuffed out this potential Andre Johnson fire more effectively (Smokey the Bear probably wants to give them a hug). The Rockets couldn't have inflamed the Lin and Parsons fires any worse.

Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons will rightfully feel resentment toward the Rockets for years. They were needlessly dissed and disrespected by the Rockets on the way out the door. Harden and Howard's comments only largely mirrored (albeit less elegantly) Morey's own remarks in his public defense of his moves.

Morey always feels the need to win over the media, to make himself be perceived as that smartest man in the room. O'Brien may be an Ivy Leaguer, but it seems like he has no interest in that type of thing. He puts his own ego aside and slowly pulls Andre Johnson back into the fold. It's not about making himself look good. It's about making sure No. 80 still feels good about everything.

O'Brien never takes the type of cheap shot at Johnson that the Rockets still can't stop themselves from taking at Lin and Parsons.

It's called being a grown up — and putting the team first. The Rockets might want to consider taking some notes.

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