HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans don't have any numbers retired or a ring of honor for former players yet, but one day, Andre Johnson's No. 80 will probably be visible somewhere at NRG Stadium. Johnson left Houston after the 2014 season, and since then the No. 80 hasn't been assigned. There's a good chance it never will again.
Because the Texans played their first season in 2002, they don't have a player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Johnson, a former All-Pro receiver and seven-time Pro Bowl selection, could become their first. He will sign a one-day contract to retire as a member of the Texans on Wednesday.
After Johnson announced his retirement during the 2016 season, current Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who played one season with Johnson in 2014, was asked if he thought Johnson is a Hall of Famer. Hopkins said simply, "In everybody's mind, not just mine."
Texans coach Bill O'Brien said he thought Johnson will "go down as one of the best receivers to ever play the game."
But what are Johnson's Hall of Fame chances?
He's the Texans' all-time receiving leader and, including his season with the Indianapolis Colts and half-season with the Tennessee Titans, he finished his career with 1,062 catches for 14,185 yards, both good for 11th all time. He also had 70 touchdowns.
But the numbers alone might not be enough right away. Johnson will probably come into the voting with Steve Smith, who is 12th in receptions and seventh all time in yards, and possibly Anquan Boldin and Reggie Wayne, who is 10th in both receptions and yards.
Because receivers of this era, playing in a pass-first league and with rules favoring offensive players, will all have such impressive receiving statistics, there will probably be many players who are voted into the final 15 for the Hall of Fame. Often, when there are multiple players at the same position up for induction at the same time, they'll cancel each other out, thus making it tougher to advance in the voting.
This was the case when receivers Tim Brown, Andre Reed and Marvin Harrison all came through at once. All eventually made it into the Hall of Fame, but they had to wait far longer than many expected.
Of the 12 receivers who had more than 14,000 receiving yards in their career and are eligible for the Hall of Fame, Terrell Owens and Isaac Bruce have not been voted in. Owens was passed over for the Hall of Fame for the second consecutive year in February.
Unlike for a quarterback or head coach, receiver is not typically a position where a team's performance affects a player's Hall of Fame chances, but players are often judged by how they perform in those bigger games. Unfortunately for Johnson, the Texans made the playoffs only twice in his 12 seasons in Houston, and he played in only four playoff games, never advancing past the divisional round.
Johnson's statistics cement his status as one of the best receivers in NFL history, and along with three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt, he is arguably one of the two best Texans ever.
Johnson is a strong candidate for the Hall of Fame, but he is going to be eligible at a difficult time for his position because of all the wide receivers who will have similarly big numbers. If Johnson does make it into Canton, it isn't likely to happen right away.