As a 22-year-old entering the NFL, Andre Johnson wasn’t focused on the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Houston Texans’ No. 3 overall pick in the 2003 NFL draft was busy enough trying to be the best version of himself.
“I think once you’re drafted, when I came here, I didn’t say to myself, ‘I want to be a Hall of Fame player,'” Johnson said. “I just always said I wanted to be a great player. I wanted to be one of the best to ever play. I never said I wanted to make it to the Hall of Fame.”
The Texans were in their second season of existence when Johnson came into the league. When Johnson made the Pro Bowl back then, coaches on the AFC team almost didn’t know what team he represented — that is how young the Texans still were when Johnson took his first trip to Hawaii.
Similarly, as Johnson began to collect more accolades, break records and lead the league in statistical categories, it started to crystallize for the former Miami product.
“As your career goes along, you guys [the media] always remind us of our stats and things we’re accomplishing,” said Johnson. “Then it’s like, ‘Man, OK, I was the first person to do this,’ or ‘I did something that Jerry Rice did.’ Now it comes in your mind, ‘Well, maybe I can get in there one day.’”
Johnson was a two-time All-Pro and a seven-time Pro Bowler in his career. He led the NFL in catches in 2006 and 2008 and in receiving yards in 2008 and 2009.
“I don’t think that’s it’s something that you come in and just assume is going to happen,” Johnson said of getting into the Hall.
Johnson is one of 15 modern-era finalists for the Hall of Fame’s 2023 class. The inaugural Texans Ring of Honor member, who played from 2003-2014 for Houston, was a finalist a year ago.