Texans great Andre Johnson makes finalists shortlist for Pro Football Hall of Fame

Andre Johnson, one of the NFL’s most prolific wide receivers in a 14-year career, is one step away from being elected to the Professional Football Hall of Fame.

Johnson, who played his first 12 seasons with the Texans and is in his first year of eligibility, made the Modern Era finalist list that was announced by the Hall of Fame on Thursday.

“It is an incredible feeling and a huge honor to be included among the finalists,” said Johnson. “I would like to thank the committee for voting for me as a finalist.

“I didn’t come to Texans saying I wanted to be in the Hall of Fame. I wanted to be a great player and play the game the right way. I think being a finalist shows that all of the hard work and dedication to my craft wasn’t something I took for granted. I can’t wait to see what will happen.

Johnson’s next hurdle to be part of the 2022 class will come on January 18, when 48 members of the selection committee will vote for up to five Modern Era finalists. The results will be revealed at the NFL Honors Show on February 10 in Los Angeles, site of Super Bowl LVI.

The selection committee will also consider wide receiver Cliff Branch, the late Houston native and Worthing High School graduate who was the lead nominee, as well as coach Dick Vermeil and contributor Art McNally, longtime referee. date and supervisor of NFL officials.

To be inducted into the Hall of Fame, finalists must receive 80% of the vote.

“I think it’s just great for Andre,” Texans president and CEO Cal McNair said. “I’m very happy but not surprised because André so deserves to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Being a finalist says a lot about the level of your game. To make the Hall of Fame would be a huge honor for Andre and the Texans.

“He’s made so many important plays for us over the years. He went against the defenses with game plans designed to stop him. He faced the best defensive backs in every game and he always produced for us. He deserves all the distinctions he receives.

• Jared Allen, DE (Chiefs, Vikings, Bears, Panthers)
• Willie Anderson, OT (Bengals, Ravens)
• Ronde Barber, CB (Buccaneers)
• Tony Boselli, OT (Jaguars)
• LeRoy Butler, S (Packers)
• Cliff Branch, WR (Raiders, senior candidate)
• Devin Hester, WR / KR / PR (Bears, Falcons, Crows)
• Torry Holt, WR (Rams, Jaguars)
• Andre Johnson, WR (Texans, Colts, Titans)
• Art McNally, contributor (referee, supervisor of officials)
• Sam Mills, LB (Saints, Panthers)
• Richard Seymour, DE (Patriots, Raiders)
• Zach Thomas, LB (Dolphins, Cowboys)
• Dick Vermeil, coach (Eagles, Rams, Chiefs)
• DeMarcus Ware, LB / DE (Cowboys, Broncos)
• Reggie Wayne, WR (Colts)
• Patrick Willis, LB (49ers)
• Bryant Young, DT (49ers)

Johnson, the third overall pick in 2003, was the Texans’ first Ring of Honor inductee at NRG Stadium, which also includes the late franchise founder Bob McNair.

During his 14-year career, Johnson caught 1,062 passes for 14,185 yards and 70 touchdowns. With the Texans, he totaled 1,012 receptions for 13,597 yards and 64 touchdowns. He’s had 51 games with at least 100 yards.

Johnson has been elected to seven Pro Bowls and has been on the All-Pro squad three times.

Johnson was one of three receivers who made the finalist list, joining Reggie Wayne and Torry Holt.

“They were both great players,” Johnson said. “I watched Torry when he was in college and with the Rams. It was one of my favorite receivers to watch.

“Reggie and I played together (at the University of Miami). He’s like a brother to me. Competing against him and the Colts twice a year, we were always trying to fight. We had to play well to give our teams a chance to win.

Other modern-day finalists are defensive end Jared Allen, offensive tackle Willie Anderson, cornerback Ronde Barber, offensive tackle Tony Boselli, safety LeRoy Butler, returns specialist Devin Hester, linebacker Sam Mills, defensive lineman Richard Seymour, linebacker Zach Thomas, defensive end DeMarcus Ware, linebacker Patrick Willis and defensive end Bryant Young.

After hearing he was on the finalist list, Johnson paid tribute to one of his former coaches, Gary Kubiak.

“I owe him so much because he meant so much to my career,” Johnson said. “Coach Kubes was trying hard to give the ball to his playmakers. He believed in me.

“When he got here things took off for me. He expected a lot from me and I was up to the challenge.

Kubiak took over a 2-14 squad in 2006. He coached Johnson for eight seasons. They helped the Texans win AFC South titles and playoff games in 2011 and 2012.

“I’m so happy for Andre because he so deserves to be in the Hall of Fame,” Kubiak said. “I am very proud of his accomplishments. When we got there, we put a lot of money into him. I was very demanding of him and he always responded as we wanted.

“André has done so much for the franchise. He raised the team to put us in a position to make the playoffs and compete for a championship. He’s one of the greatest players I’ve coached, and there’s no doubt in my mind that he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame because he’s one of the greatest receivers of. the story.

Johnson’s stats compare favorably with those of Hall of Fame receivers.

Playing primarily with starting quarterbacks David Carr and Matt Schaub, Johnson has had five seasons with at least 100 receptions. It’s one more than Jerry Rice and Marvin Harrison and two more than Cris Carter and Randy Moss.

Johnson had three 1,500-yard seasons, tied for second with Harrison, one behind Rice.

Johnson and Harrison had three seasons with at least 100 receptions and 1,500 yards, one more than Rice and two more than Moss, Michael Irvin, Isaac Bruce and Calvin Johnson.

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