"He is Houston," Texans running back Arian Foster said during an interview with Local 2 news in Houston on Tuesday. "I remember when I had my little run where I had like two back-to-back great seasons. I felt like this city loves me; they love me here. Everywhere I go, this is still Dre's city."
And that distinction stands even when including players from the Houston Rockets, Foster said.
"I don't care if James Harden is walking around, Dwight Howard, whatever. This is Andre Johnson's city. He is Houston," the running back said. "That's what it means more than anything. He's been a staple here for so long."
Johnson has not attended any of the Texans' offseason programs and has not indicated he plans to attend training camp.
He has reportedly asked for a trade, but sources said the Texans are not interested in dealing him. Johnson is due $10.5 million this season in base salary but will not receive a $1 million roster bonus that was contingent on his attending offseason workouts. Trading or releasing Johnson would cost the Texans about $12 million against their salary cap.
The seven-time Pro Bowler said in May that he wasn't sure he still wanted to be with the Texans because of what he saw as an upcoming rebuilding season. Johnson noted he has experienced only three winning seasons in his 11 seasons with the team. The Texans went 2-14 in the 2013 season after winning the AFC South the previous two years.
"I understand where he's coming from, I really do," Foster said. "This is a business, and people forget that it's a business. He's at the point of his career where he doesn't want money now. He just wants to go win.
"Ultimately that's one of my friends outside the field. So I want him to do what's best for him. If he doesn't feel like playing anymore, he wants to hang it up, then I'll support him. If he wants to come back and help us win, I'm all for that as well."