HOUSTON – The Houston Texans began minicamp without star receiver Andre Johnson.
They stretched and ran together. As a team, the Texans started building chemistry around their new coach and new starting quarterback. However, one old team captain was absent.
“Andre Johnson’s been with the Texans since day one since he got drafted,” said Mazen Baltagi, a Texans fan. “In the NFL, he’s considered a man of his word and honor and all that. To see him do this, it’s not like him.”
Fans always know the score.
“Andre is frustrated,” said Joe Hosley, another fan.
Johnson wants out. Tuesday, he followed through on threats to sit out mandatory practice.
“I understand his frustration, but I don’t think he can do much about it,” Hosley said. “So, I think eventually he’ll show up.”
However, Texans fans cheering World Cup soccer at Christian’s Tailgate in the Heights sounded ready to give Johnson the boot.
“You have to stick with whatever decision a coach makes,” Baltagi said. “For that, if he needs to be traded then you gotta trade him.”
“I understand he wants to win, but at the same time, that’s his team,” Cory Hagan, another fan, said. “I think he should be there. I think we can make it with or without.”
“These things happen in teams,” Texans fan Raz Halili said. “Maybe he was frustrated in things that happened. But, I’d rather have the players who want to be there contributing to the team, to the locker room and that’s what’s really going to bring the team closer together.”
“It kind of is what it is,” said Texans fan Joseph Sobotik. “(The Texans) will overcome it definitely. But time will tell.”
For now, new receivers are running Andre Johnson’s routes. What it means for the team’s chances next season, fans don’t know what to think.
“(It) can’t get any worse than last year, right,” Hagan asked.