The Texans began their voluntary mini-camp on Tuesday, the key word being voluntary. Wide receiver Andre Johnson didn't show up. Houston Chronicle writer Dale Robertson called Johnson's absence "odd" because Johnson has usually shown up for voluntary football activities in previous years under many other head coaches.
Someone who did show up was running back Arian Foster . He was cleared in March following November back surgery that Foster said "wasn't as major as it sounded." Texans head coach Bill O'Brien said Foster "looked good."
Whenever I consider Johnson's draft stock, memories of his reoccurring hamstring injuries from a couple of years ago always lead me to rank him a little lower than I should, because I forget that since then, Johnson has turned in back-to-back healthy seasons while averaging more than 1,500 yards per year. Sure, Johnson turns 33 in July, has scored only 11 touchdowns in his last 39 games, and may have Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing him passes for the majority of this season, but Johnson can still get it done at a very high level. Look at what he did last year with Matt Schaub and Co. Although he could show his age at any second, Johnson still works as a WR1.
I'm not as optimistic on Foster. He'll be only 28 years this summer, but he is coming off of an injury-plagued year. There were concerns heading into 2013 that Foster could break down after taking on an incredible amount of touches over the previous three seasons, and those concerns were fully realized. Is this the beginning of the end for one of the best running backs of this decade, or will his body be renewed following surgery and so much time off last year? I am not going to write off the back surgery as Foster has; any surgery that deals with a disc in your back is pretty major. I'll probably let him fall in drafts, all the while admitting that could be a very costly mistake if Foster makes it through a full schedule.