By Garret Heinrich

PHOENIX (CBS HOUSTON) – The Houston Texans released 12-year veteran Andre Johnson a few weeks ago.  Johnson wanted to leave the team after being told he would have a reduced role in the 2015 season.  This week at the NFL Owners meetings in Phoenix, Arizona, Texans owner Bob McNair told ESPN’s Tania Ganguli he wasn’t very surprised by Johnson’s reaction.

“Every athlete I think would like to play forever,” McNair told Ganguli. “They never want to acknowledge that they’ve lost a step or they can’t quite do what they did before. Just look at history. Look at all the players. It just happens time and time again. We don’t like to acknowledge that we’re getting older. None of us do. That’s just human nature, and I don’t think that’s going to change. … They’re used to being a star and they’d like to continue being a star. I don’t blame ’em, I understand that.”

This was the first statement from McNair on the wide receiver who he had said he wanted to be a “Texan for life.” Every player and coach who had been asked about Johnson and his subsequent departure talked of the respect they had for the player, but no one mentioned the 2014 team leader in receptions losing a step.

Johnson signed with the division rival Indianapolis Colts shortly after his release.  The team does not know yet, but if healthy, this means Johnson will play at NRG Stadium in 2015.  While the Texans will likely not honor Johnson during that game, McNair told Ganguli the organization would love to honor the player.

“I think when he’s ready to retire, we would love to honor him and give him an adequate ceremony recognizing what he’s done,” McNair said. “And we’ll look forward to that.”