ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — In Gary Kubiak's eight years as Houston Texans head coach, no player provided as much stability, consistency and sheer greatness as wide receiver Andre Johnson. After 13 NFL seasons as one of the toughest players to cover, Johnson announced his retirement Monday halfway through his 14th year.
Johnson finished his career with 14,185 receiving yards, 1,062 receptions and 70 touchdowns, the majority of which came as a Texan under Kubiak's guidance. The seven-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro recorded six seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards in that time, including the 2012 season in which he notched 1,598 yards. In Kubiak's 125 games as the Texans' head coach, Johnson recorded 705 receptions, 9,645 receiving yards and 49 touchdowns, and he averaged 106 receptions, 1,456 yards and seven touchdowns per 16 games.
But the memories Johnson and Kubiak share go beyond the exceptional individual seasons. The two also helped lead the Texans to their first winning season in 2009, their first playoff berths in franchise history in 2011 and 2012, and their first postseason victories, wild-card wins over the Bengals in 2011 and 2012.
"When it comes to the combination of a player and a person, Andre Johnson may be one of the finest pro football players I've ever been around," Kubiak said Monday. "He's a great player and obviously put up ridiculous numbers when I was with him. He is a tremendous human being. Andre was drafted by a startup franchise and unselfishly gave Houston everything he possibly had throughout his career. A lot of guys might have been trying to run somewhere else or do something different, but he didn't do that. You put that all together and you have one the most tremendous receivers. I have the utmost respect for Andre and wish him all the best."