Team owner McNair wants Johnson to retire a Texan

HOUSTON -- Texans owner Bob McNair hopes to sign Andre Johnson to a new contract within "a couple weeks" and keep the star wide receiver in Houston for his entire career.

Johnson participated in the team's first training-camp workout Friday, setting aside his unresolved contract situation. He wants a new deal, even though he has five years left on his current $60 million contract, but he also said he didn't want to become a team distraction by holding out.

"I know if I wasn't here, it would be a big thing," Johnson said.

Johnson led the NFL with 1,569 receiving yards in 2009 and topped 100 catches for the third time in the last four years. McNair said he wouldn't usually restructure a player's contract so long before it expires. But Johnson is the most accomplished and recognized player in franchise history, and McNair said the receiver's stature will earn him different treatment in contract negotiations.

"We've never done anything like this before, and there has to be a reason to do it," McNair said. "Andre is a special guy, and we're giving him some special consideration."

Johnson's desire for a new contract came to light in the summer, when he skipped three voluntary workouts during offseason training activities. He took the field Friday with the contract out of his mind.

"When you worry about stuff like that, it tends to frustrate you," Johnson said. "Once I came in for OTAs, I pretty much just put it behind me. If it's meant to happen, it'll happen. When it will happen, I don't know. But I'm here. That's all that matters."

Johnson conceded that he would like to become the NFL's highest-paid receiver. Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald, New England's Randy Moss and Detroit's Calvin Johnson are among several who earned more than Houston's Johnson did in 2009.

"When guys want new deals, that's what they want," Johnson said. "They want to be the highest-paid at their position."

McNair is confident the two sides will strike a long-term deal.

"We think that he is going to be our first Hall of Famer and we'd like to see him spend his entire career with the Texans," McNair said. "Hopefully, that is what we will be able to achieve. We're ready to sit down and talk about putting something together that might allow that to happen."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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