- Tania Ganguli, ESPN Staff Writer
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When Andre Johnson arrived at the Houston Texans' facility to learn the team's offense on Monday, the best offensive player in franchise history had already decided to return to his team and report for training camp. He made it known in the building.
Now, Johnson can return to the role he would rather play -- the quiet leader who prefers not to make much of a fuss.
This fuss was something Johnson felt he needed to do. Back in May at a charity event, he dropped the news that he was unhappy with the direction his team was going and wasn't sure he still wanted to be in Houston. It wasn't about the money, but Johnson did want assurances about his future.
All along the Texans felt Johnson would show up for training camp and be there when it mattered. They took an unnecessary hard-line stance against him because of that belief and they were right.
His absence was notable during voluntary organized team activities and the Texans' voluntary minicamp. It was even more notable during the Texans' mandatory minicamp.
He had his teammates' support throughout the process and his coach's very public respect. Every time Texans coach Bill O'Brien was asked about Johnson, he first spoke about how highly he regarded Johnson's career. He said he didn't have any concerns about Johnson picking up the team's offense once he arrived. And he kept in touch with the 11-year veteran throughout the process.
All of that ensured that when it came to his dealings on the football field, Johnson could return without awkwardness or bruised egos, without Johnson's position as the most respected player in that locker room challenged. Friday marks a return to normal.