Houston Texans’ owner Bob McNair is attending the annual NFL owner’s meetings in Arizona, as most of the executive’s, coaches and owners all are. And as many do, McNair has spoken to members of the media while at the meetings. It was during one of these conversations with a member of the press that McNair said something he may soon regret.
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While speaking with ESPN.com’s Tania Ganguli, McNair may have inadvertently lit an even bigger fire under former Texans’ receiver Andre Johnson. The star player has been the face of the franchise for more than a decade, but after being told he was no longer going to be utilized the same, he bolted for division rival Indianapolis after demanding his release.
McNair made it clear that he expected Johnson to rebuke the idea of a lesser role, claiming most star athletes have a hard time admitting when the end is near.
"“Every athlete I think would like to play forever,” McNair said. “They never want to acknowledge that they’ve lost a step or they can’t quite do what they did before. Just look at history. Look at all the players. It just happens time and time again."
While there may be some truth to what McNair is saying, it is never a good idea to publicly criticize a former player, especially one who will face your franchise twice per season. Having a former star player face your team is bad enough. Having a former star player facing your former team while mad, is even worse.
Last season the Carolina Panthers parted ways with a receiver also in the twilight of his career in Steve Smith. As fate would have it Smith, who joined the Baltimore Ravens, played his former squad and burnt them to the tune of 7 catches for 139 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Smith, who is much more vocal than Johnson, blasted the Panthers on more than one occasion, and gloated about the way he showed them up in his impressive performance. Johnson may not say it as openly, but inside any athlete there is that desire to show they are the best. They want to show it even more when someone tells them they are no loner good enough.
While it may have been an honest assessment, I am sure most fans would agree that McNair would have been best served to steer clear of any comments regarding Johnson. The last thing the Texans want is Andre coming in with anything further to prove.