Texans Star Receiver Andre Johnson on the Cover of ESPN The Magazine: NFL Midseason Report
Plus – Living the Mascot Life, College Basketball Confidential: The Exclusive Player Poll &
The Mag’s NEXT Athlete Nominees 10 Through 6
Andre Johnson deserves a national stage — he’s dominant, humble and the No. 1 wide receiver in the NFL, and yet he can count on one hand the number of times he has played on national TV. Drafted third in 2003 by the Texans, Johnson has played more games without making the playoffs than all but two active receivers. In “Simply Irreplaceable”, in the new issue of ESPN The Magazine on newsstands now, writer David Fleming writes about what the Texans need to do (make the playoffs), in order to keep their star shining bright in Texas.
- Andre Johnson: “It gets harder and harder every year. Who says we will make the playoffs? Who says we won’t? I don’t know what’s gonna happen the rest of the way. When I was drafted by this franchise, I never would have thought that it would take seven years to get to the point where we wanted to be.”
- Chester Pitts, Houston guard on Johnson: “The football world is about seven years late on getting to know ‘Dre. That’s what you call a glitch in the matrix.”
The Mag’s NFL Midseason Report also features “One and Onlys.” ESPN Insider experts identify the second half contender’s most irreplaceable factor. From a ferocious pass rusher to a soothing body healer – take away these factors and the teams won’t make it deep into January, let alone to February. And “Player X” adds a player’s perspective to the midseason debate with “How do you know if a Team is For Real? Just Listen”.
In “Second Skin,” writer Larry Smith writes about the superhero life of a college mascot, 19-year-old Clint Gyory, the Penn State Nittany Lion. He commands thousands with the wave of a paw, brings adults to the brink of tears, and the push-ups, don’t forget about the push-ups! With more than 300 events a year, this Lion never sleeps.
College Basketball Confidential: Exclusive Player Poll:
The Magazine anonymously polled 100 players, men and women, from 23 DI conferences on everything from gamblers and agents to coaches and cheerleaders. Highlights from the men’s poll include:
- Should Players be paid? 54% said yes
- What is the best program? 62% said the Tar Heels
- Were you ever offered money as a recruit? Anonymous quote, Big-time schools compete for big-time players. That’s how they get them”
- Should there be a four-point line? Anonymous quote, “come on, man-this isn’t’ a video game”
- Have you ever been approached by an agent? 34% of those who answered said they have been reached out to via Facebook
- Have you ever bet on a game or been approached about throwing one? Anonymous quote, “I was offered $25k [to change the outcome of the game]
The complete poll is available on Insider.
NEXT: THE HOME STRETCH
Meet five more young standouts, as The Mag marches toward the summit of NEXT. Who will claim the top spot? Find out in our Dec. 14 issue.
10. Bobby Ryan, Anaheim Ducks
9. Gordon Beckham, Chicago White Sox
8. Ndamukong Suh, defensive tackle, Nebraska
7. Darrelle Revis, New York Jets
- Giuseppe Rossi, Italian National Soccer team
JUST ON OF THE GUYS. No. 1 draft pick Blake Griffin has gotten used to standing out. But he’s discovered the secret to being a Clippers rookie is all about fitting in. Chris Palmer reports.
RAMPS & TRAMPS. Who needs snow? The new U.S. training center in Park City, Utah is a winter Olympic paradise for Vancouver hopefuls. Dimity McDowell reports.