INDIANAPOLIS – Andre Johnson has the questions coming at him from all directions.
Friends. Family members. Fans.
They all want to know the same thing: Why isn’t the Indianapolis Colts receiver catching more passes?
What many don’t understand, according to Johnson, is that he didn’t sign with the Colts to strictly catch passes from quarterback Andrew Luck -- or Matt Hasselbeck for the next few weeks. Johnson came to Indianapolis for the purpose of winning. And if winning means Johnson is relegated to being the third or even the fourth receiver some games that’s fine with him. If that means Johnson is blocking to help running back Frank Gore gain yards, he's fine with that, too.
“Anybody would like to go out and catch six, seven galls a game, but that’s not what it is,” Johnson said. “Like I said before, it could be my day today, somebody else’s day tomorrow. The biggest thing about when you’re trying to achieve that ultimate goal, you have to do things that have never been done before. I was out there run blocking. But it’s part of it. I’m embracing every part of it. It’s different for me, but I don’t have a problem with it.”
Inconsistent is the best way to describe Johnson’s first season in the Indianapolis. He signed a three-year, $21 million contract with the Colts in the offseason after spending the first 12 years of his NFL career with the Houston Texans where he compiled 1,012 receptions for 13,597 yards and 64 touchdowns.
Johnson entered the season with the expectations of being the Colts’ No. 2 receiver opposite of T.Y. Hilton. But instead, he’s had three games without a reception and then he had four catches for 81 yards and a touchdown against Carolina in Week 8. Barring a late-season surge, Johnson will have the worst statistical season of his career.
But you know what?
Johnson isn’t the least bit upset about it.
“I think now people are so caught up in fantasy football,” Johnson said. “We hear it all the time. [Fans] get upset with you when you don’t catch a pass. People can say whatever they want or feel however they want to feel. I sleep good at night. I’m not really caught up with people have to say. I’ve had a great career. I’ve got a lot of passes and gained a lot of yards. I don’t really get caught up in what the outside people have to say.”
Johnson and coach Chuck Pagano had a conversation during the free-agent period back in March where they discussed what the receiver's role would be.
“Does he want to make plays? Absolutely,” Pagano said. “Does he want to catch the football? Absolutely. Do they want to score touchdowns? They all do. I’d be lying to you and they’d be lying to you if they said they didn’t. There are going to be days where he’s going to have to go and block his tail off because we ran it 40 times (against Denver) and it didn’t work out in the pass game. He had a big smile on his face afterward and was really excited about blocking his teammates and winning because that’s the most important thing.”