During an emotional press conference, Johnson broke down in tears as he discussed his mother and path to the NFL, per Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle:
The Texans showed their gratitude for Johnson's 12 years with the franchise in a thank-you video posted on Twitter:
Reflecting on his NFL career, particularly with the Texans, Johnson said there was one thing he regretted.
"The only regret I have is not helping this organization win a world championship," he said.
Despite moving around the AFC South, Johnson admitted the pull of Houston never went away.
"Even when I was with the Colts and the Titans, my heart never left this place," he said.
With his playing days done, Johnson has a strong case to become the first Texans player to go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible in five years. He ranks 11th all-time in career receiving yards and receptions and 40th in receiving touchdowns.
"I haven't thought five years down the road," Johnson said about the Hall of Fame. "If it happens, it'd be a very exciting time."
Johnson was named to seven Pro Bowls and made the All-Pro first team twice, and he led the NFL in receptions and receiving yards twice. He was the Texans' second-ever first-round pick in 2003, following quarterback David Carr the previous year.
As one of the key pieces of Houston's offense for 12 years, he helped lead the franchise to its first two division titles and playoff appearances in 2011 and 2012.
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