Saying his absence from the team's first three voluntary practices over a contract dispute was "out of character", Houston Texans receiver Andre Johnson told KRIV-TV in Houston that he was eager to rejoin his teammates.
"My big thing is I just want to be out there with my teammates and help us accomplish our goals," Johnson told KRIV. "Me sitting out is not going to help, so I chose to come back."
As expected, Johnson was on the practice field with his Texans teammates Thursday.
Johnson has five years left on an eight-year contract worth $60 million that included $15 million in guarantees. He is considered one of the top receivers in the NFL, but his contract doesn't place him among the highest-paid players at his position with Larry Fitzgerald and Brandon Marshall earning significantly more.
The Texans reworked his original contract three years ago when it had two years remaining.
"Me not showing up is out of my character and that's why I'm here. I just hope things will work out," Johnson told KRIV.
"I feel like the team understands my situation and I know theirs and we can meet at a certain point and get it done and have a successful season," he told KRIV.
Johnson's uncle and agent Andre Melton told The Associated Press that a meeting Wednesday with the team's front office went "extremely well."
Johnson's return is a smart move in dealing with a team that has had a policy under general manager Rick Smith to negotiate only with players who are participating in team activities. Melton seemed encouraged by his talk with team officials on Wednesday.
"I'm pretty sure it will be a win-win for everybody," he said when asked if he believes the two sides can agree to a deal that will make Johnson happy.
Johnson, the third overall pick in 2003, is entering his eighth season. He has led the league in receiving in each of the last two seasons.