View Full Version : Houston Chronicle articles on DJ/AJ, Q and AJ talking up the Goat
08-11-2005, 10:26 AM
Aug. 11, 2005, 12:24AM
Former Hurricanes have some catching up to do
By ZACHARY LEVINE
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle
They aren’t your typical loudmouth Miami Hurricanes, but Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson and Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams still have plenty of pride for “The U.”
After playing as college teammates for three years and winning a national championship in 2001, Johnson and Williams took the field together for Wednesday’s joint practice between the teams.
“I really haven’t had a chance to sit down and talk with him,” Johnson said, adding that the two will spend some time together Friday when they have a light practice schedule in preparation for Saturday’s first preseason game.
08-11-2005, 10:26 AM
This isn’t the first time that Johnson and Williams have seen each other since Johnson left after his junior season in 2002.
Last season, when the Texans visited Invesco Field, Williams recorded six tackles while Johnson was held to 28 yards on three catches. Then in the offseason, Williams visited Johnson in Houston.
And after that visit, Williams got the impression that his former teammate had changed.
In college, “Dre was kind of quiet, didn’t talk that much,” Williams said. “He’s loosened up a little bit since he’s been in the league.”
But one thing that hasn’t changed is success. In his three years from 2000-2002, Johnson’s Hurricanes went 35-2, while they were 46-4 in Williams’ four seasons, which also included 2003, advancing to BCS Bowls every year.
Clinton Portis, Willis McGahee, Sean Taylor, Ed Reed, Santana Moss, Reggie Wayne and Kellen Winslow, Jr. are just a handful of their college teammates who have made it to the NFL.
And these Miami guys are looking out for each other.
“Coming from ‘The U.,’ I’m proud of him,” Williams said. “I think he’s doing great – to be in the Pro Bowl your second year means that you’re doing a lot.”
Johnson was equally complimentary of the second-year linebacker. “He had a great rookie season,” Johnson said. “I’m real proud of him and hope he keeps getting better.” That is, until they have to play each other again.
Trivia: Other than Johnson, who is the only player on the Texans who played at the University of Miami? The answer is here ...
Notable: Maurice Clarett, the Broncos’ third-round pick out of Ohio State, missed today’s double session with an injured groin.
The Texans and Broncos will practice tomorrow afternoon in the bubble, then they will have light workouts on Friday before Saturday’s game.
Trivia answer: Phillip Buchanon played cornerback at Miami from 1999-2001, playing on the defensive unit with Williams for two years and going up against Johnson in practice
08-11-2005, 10:27 AM
Aug. 10, 2005, 11:42PM
Griffin doesn't have a lot of room to develop in Broncos RB machine
By ALISHA J. RICARDI
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle
THE GRIFFIN FILE
• Name: Quentin Griffin.
• Age: 24.
• Position: Running back.
• Height/weight: 5-7; 195.
• College/high school: Oklahoma; Nimitz.
• NFL carries/yards/average: 179 for 656; 3.7.
•Did you know?: Griffin once had six TDs in a college game against Texas. That's twice as many as he has scored in 16 NFL games — and he got all three of those in one game (vs. Kansas City Chiefs, Sept. 12, 2004).
Training in Houston with the Texans this week is more of a homecoming than a field trip for Denver Broncos running back Quentin Griffin.
But while the former Nimitz High School star said he was excited to return to his hometown, he was more focused on regaining the starting spot he lost midway through last season.
When Mike Anderson suffered two torn groin muscles in an August preseason game against the Texans last year, Griffin got an opportunity to move out front.
But he had his breakout season cut short in October when he injured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on a kickoff return against Cincinnati.
He won't play against the Texans on Saturday night at Reliant Stadium. But it's no vacation — Griffin said he intends to use practices against the Texans to speed up his recovery.
"It feels good to be back at home; you get a chance to see some family and friends, (but) we came down here to work," Griffin said. "(My injury,) it's one of those deals. It's a temporary plight. It's something I'm on the end of now, and I'm kind of behind, but I'm doing well."
With Griffin still making a comeback from surgery to repair his ACL, Anderson has recovered and regained his starting job.
While he's elated to be starting, Anderson also said he and the team are looking forward to Griffin's return.
"He can be one of the dominant backs in the league," Anderson said. "He's shifty, he's quick, he's got real good feet; he can make guys miss in space or in tight spaces. We just want him back 100 percent."
Hot start out of OU
A fourth-round pick from Oklahoma in 2003, Griffin had 656 yards rushing and 129 yards receiving in 16 games his first two seasons, including five starts.
Last Sept. 12, he set the team record for most yards rushing in a season opener with a career-high 156 on 23 carries against Kansas City.
In six games and four starts last season, Griffin totaled 311 yards on 85 carries, two rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown before the injury.
Broncos coach Mike Shanahan has seen Griffin's game-day potential, even if only briefly, and is also anticipating his reappearance in the regular season.
"Quentin had a great camp last year," Shanahan said. "When Mike got hurt, Quentin was promoted, and he took advantage of it until he got hurt, too.
"He worked hard to come back, and the only reason he's not playing Saturday is because we've only been working him in one practice a day instead of two."
Somewhat like Sanders
Griffin's progress was noticeable at Wednesday's practice, indicating it's likely he'll be at full speed sooner rather than later.
"He looks great," Shanahan said. "He's always had that great quickness and the elusiveness of Barry Sanders. He hasn't missed a step since he's come back. I don't see any reason he can't be all the way back by the start of the season."
08-11-2005, 10:28 AM
Johnson lives his 'childhood dream'
Texans receiver hopes to emulate ultimate No. 80, play 21 years
By JOHN MCCLAIN
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle
Receiver Andre Johnson may be shy in public and reserved in interviews, but he had no reservations about asking for advice from his idol and role model, Jerry Rice.
Johnson, who wears No. 80 because of his admiration for Rice, approached the most productive receiver in NFL history after the Texans' first practice against the Denver Broncos on Wednesday.
Rice, who signed with Denver to play a 21st NFL season, was surrounded by reporters, most of whom were asking his opinion of Johnson.
"I've watched him, and he's very talented," Rice said. "It's an honor to hear that he says such nice things about me. To hear that a great young receiver idolizes someone is a sign of respect for the way you played the game."
08-11-2005, 10:29 AM
Rice, 42, has 16 NFL regular-season and career records and 11 Super Bowl records.
After standing to the side as if he were waiting to ask for an autograph, Johnson timidly approached Rice. A path was cleared for him.
"My question to you is: What keeps you going, man?" Johnson said after shaking hands with Rice.
After the greeting, Rice and Johnson spoke as if they were oblivious to the crowd around them.
"Andre, it's just my conditioning over the years, my dedication to the game and basically just trying to set a good example," Rice said. "The thing for me is that I still love the game. I'm still like a little kid.
"I'm still coachable, too. Any of the coaches can tell me why they think I need to run this route this way. I'm not going to be offended by it. It's only going to make me a better player."
WR soaks up knowledge
Johnson, who made his first Pro Bowl appearance in February and enters his third season, had more questions.
"If you have a passion for the game, Andre, and you love it, dedicate yourself to it," Rice said. "Work hard. And always leave yourself open for advice. A lot of receivers, once they get to a certain level, feel like they know everything.
"If you continue with your attitude, one day I'll be sitting back and watching you and saying, 'Wow. Everything I did worked out. This guy's carrying on that tradition.' "
When Johnson told Rice he hopes he can play for 21 years, Rice made him an offer he can't refuse.
"Come train with me, Andre," said Rice, whose training routine includes a steep climb. "In the offseason, we can train together. We can do the hill."
Johnson smiled sheepishly and said, "I've heard a lot of guys can't make it up the hill."
"Hey, I can get you up there," he said. "I'm going to give you my telephone number, so you have no excuses."
Johnson told Rice he would be honored to train with him.
"Man, that was amazing," Johnson said later. "To get advice from the best receiver to ever play the game was something I've been waiting for. I finally got a chance to do it. That means so much to me. It was really great to finally get a chance to talk to him.
"I mean, I've been watching him play since I can remember. I have an autographed picture from him. He sent it to me my rookie year, and I really do appreciate it. It's hanging up in my house."
Johnson has so much respect for Rice that he almost sounded in awe after they spoke.
"Well, when you grow up hoping to get to this point, you never really think you will," Johnson said. "I mean, this is a childhood dream. When you're young, you say, 'One day, I want to play in the NFL and be like Jerry Rice.' And when you finally get to this point, it's kind of shocking."
All about attitude
Johnson said he'll take the advice to heart.
"He told me to be coachable, and that's something I am," Johnson said. "When a coach is telling you to do this when you're running a route, don't act like he doesn't know what he's talking about or talk back to him."
Johnson promised Rice that he would take him up on his offer.
"When Jerry Rice invites you to train with him, hey, I'm definitely going," Johnson said. "What an experience that's going to be for me."