In terms of controversy, the month of May would have to go down as a period to forget in Houston Texans history. It's rare to find such a new team under the media spotlight, but unfortunately for Texans fans, the dilemmas and disappointments continue to build up as the offseason continues.
As a small fan of the Houston Texans, I amongst hundreds of other people had huge expectations for this young but oh so talented team. Matt Schaub was passing extremely well, the Texans finally drafted a suitable running back, and the motivation and anticipation was high in the locker room.
Now, not to say that all of this has evaporated due to a few silly incidents, but the reality for Houston is all of these off-field dramas could pose as a simple distraction for Houston, as they focus on training camps and preseason games.
However, just when we thought the Brian Cushing issue was well and truly behind us, it seems another Houston Texans player has a problem with his team. In case you are unaware, star wide receiver Andre Johnson has failed to show up at team organized activities.
Sure, this isn't a huge deal, but when it comes to trying to push a playoff bound team over that "hump" that may boost them into the postseason, I think you'll agree that missing these type of team-building exercises may cost Andre Johnson in the long run.
He wasn't an outspoken player before, and he certainly complied with all team requirements and necessities that the Texans placed in front of him, so why the sudden change of heart, Andre?
Well it's simple. Like all of us, Andre Johnson simply wants more money. He's tired of working the same job, he's tired of being overshadowed by more overpaid guys in the league, and above all else, he feels that his effort certainly results in a few more Ben Franklins.
With this said, it is not my place to judge Andre Johnson, as God himself knows that every athlete on the face of this planet is always after a bigger salary. Although, when considering a guy such as Andre Johnson who is second to Jerry Rice in receiving yards, I guess it is a fair request for the Texans to line his wallet a little more.
The issue with this case, though, is the fact that the Houston Texans simply don't know how much more money to award Andre Johnson. With so much time left on his eight-year contract, general manager Rick Smith stated in a press conference just how difficult it is to raise the salary of a player that could quite possibly pack his bags and leave in the near future.
So is this a problem for the Houston Texans? You betcha', as the Texans are close to the playoffs, but still aren't all the way home. Fortunately for Texans fans, the good news is that Rick Smith has a plan in mind.
It seems that the way the Texans are willing to do business is by letting Andre Johnson perform (which he constantly does well) and see out the remainder of his contract. Should he remain consistent for that period of time, a pot of gold so to speak, will be at the end of the rainbow.
Is this fair for Andre Johnson? Maybe, but what the Texans must remember is how pivotal Andre Johnson not only is for their offense, but also for other off-field issues such as fan attendance, financial matters, and of course marketability.
In a time that sees the basketball world heavily discussing LeBron James's future, this story may slip under the radar a little. As out of character as this is for Andre Johnson, there is no doubt in anyone's mind that it will play as a problem should this issue not be resolved sooner rather than later.
As I mentioned, I am a partial Texans fan, and I think I speak for everyone in saying that we certainly don't want to see Andre Johnson turn into a greedy and manipulative player like so many other NFL athletes.
Rick Smith is willing to sit down, and it seems Andre Johnson is too. When will it happen? Quite possibly in the near future, but hopefully a solution can be reached that satisfies both parties.
Turmoil in Texas is present, and for once it isn't the Dallas Cowboys. The Texans must sort this issue out as quickly as possible, and the longer Andre has to compare his annual $7.5 million contract with higher paid guys such as Larry Fitzgerald, the more scrutiny will develop.
A troubling issue, yes but one that can be resolved quite easily. Let's just hope for the Texans' and the fans' sake that Andre Johnson enters September with a smile on his dial.