HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – Earlier today, all time Texans great Andre Johnson announced his retirement from the NFL. That news resonated in the locker room among Texans players during media availability today.
“Pretty shocked,” said linebacker Brian Cushing, who played with Johnson from 2009-2014. “I don’t know exactly what the whole cause or reason is for that. But he was a tremendous teammate, and a guy that I have all the respect in the world for. I just wish him the best of luck. Incredible talent, but an even better teammate.”
“I’m sure he had the feeling in his body that it was the time,” said cornerback Johnathan Joseph, a 3 year teammate of Johnson. “Great hall of fame career. Great player. Great friend off the field. Great guy. Was a great teammate. It was a blessing to play with him.”
“Even though he might not have always led vocally, he definitely led by his play,” said Antonio Smith (played with Johnson 2009-2013). “And even though he was quiet at times, his play was never quiet. It was an aggressive, tough, hard nosed style of football.”
“He always stayed humble,” said cornerback A.J. Bouye. “And he showed that you don’t have to be vocal and all that stuff to be a leader. You just have to lead by example. And he always worked hard.”
“I felt like he was one of the best receivers over there,” continued Bouye. “And that’s no disrespect to the other receivers. I just like the way that he always played because I was always a big fan. So maybe I’m being biased.”
“Amazing career here with the Texans,” said wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins Hopkins. “He did a lot for this organization and for this city as well. And he does a lot for Miami. So hearing about him retiring, I think he’s accomplished a lot.”
When the Texans picked Hopkins in the 2013 NFL draft, Johnson served as a mentor of sorts and took Hopkins under his wing. Now Hopkins has taken on the role that Johnson left when the Texans released him prior to the 2015 season.
“To have a guy of his status who’s played a lot of football,” continued Hopkins, “To teach me a lot of things about the game of football, about life in general, he basically groomed me the first few years I was here.”
The kind words continued from his college teammates. Nose tackle Vince Wilfork played with Johnson at the University of Miami from 2001 – 2002.
“If you paint a picture of a perfect athlete, you’re painting ‘Dre,” said Vince Wilfork. “He’s just so physical, so big, smart. He knew the game inside and out. Tough. Durable. It’s hard to come by. Anytime you have a teammate and a brother leave the game you kind of feel bad about it. But at the same time, you look back at his career, a hell of a career.”
“He will be missed,” continued Wilfork. “Especially another Hurricane. I hate losing my Hurricanes. We all have a day sometimes. Who knows when my day is up. But I don’t want to think about it this quick. It was fun to see him play, and the career he had. Love him.”
Paul Gallant hosts “Gallant at Night” – Tuesdays 9-11 PM, Wednesdays 8-11 PM, and Fridays 8-11 PM on SportsRadio 610. He also hosts SportsZone Unfiltered – Fridays at 10 PM – on The Kube: Channel 57. Get in touch with Paul via email or his facebook page.