Andre Johnson just retired after a 14-season career that most athletes wouldn't mind having with seven Pro Bowl appearances, 10th on the all-time receiving yards list, ninth in all-time receptions and a finely crafted reputation as an all around swell guy. One of two players with four seasons of 1,400 yards and 100 receptions, Marvin Harrison being the other, Johnson led the NFL in catches in 2006 and 2008.
He also led the National Football League in receiving yards in both 2008 and 2009. We witnessed Johnson come in with a bang. If I could wish anything upon his lofty legacy, it is that he could have had Pro Bowl caliber quarterbacks throughout the duration of his career.
(Photo Credit: Houston Chronicle)
As a member of the Tennessee Titans this year, Johnson hasn't quite been himself since recording nine catches, 85 yards and two TDs in Week 2. To say he is a mere shell of his once dominant self would be accurate.
Drafted with the third overall pick in the 2003 NFL draft by the Houston Texans, the 6' 3", 229 pound receiver is the last of that great Miami Hurricanes national championship team from 2001.
The former Rose Bowl co-MVP was joined in that draft by Miami QB Ken Dorsey, RB's Willis McGahee and Clinton Portis, TE Jeremy Shockley, LB Jonathan Vilma, defensive tackle Vince Wilfork and safety Ed Reed. Those Hurricanes have been called the best college football team in the BCS era. Four Miami players were drafted in the first round that year.
Can it be that it was all so simply then? Indeed it was. Way back then it seemed like the U was permanently on top of the collegiate landscape after a decade-long hiatus. Who would have bet Miami would be shoveling in top talent indefinitely? I would have, and I would be destitute because of that wager.
However, with the retirement of the last player from one of its all-time best National Championship teams, we not only see the NFL lose a great statesman and football payer, but the last vestige of the Miami Hurricane bygone era greatness going right along with him.