ILB Brian Cushing
WR DeAndre Hopkins
QB Brock Osweiler
DE Devon Still
WR Jaelen Strong
DE J.J. Watt
ILB Brian Cushing
Can you give us some details about your USO Tour and what it means to you?
“I’m leaving this Friday. We’re going to Germany and Kuwait. We’re going to be visiting both countries and a number of different bases. It was just an opportunity that was presented to me and it’s something I’m passionate about, so I couldn’t turn it down. I’m just very excited about the chance.”
Have you ever visited Germany?
“I have not.”
How special will the USO Tour be for you to go meet with military members?
“Like I said, it’s one of those things I’m really looking forward to. Once the opportunity was presented to me, I couldn’t say no. I’m very excited to get over there and meet and talk with a lot of the troops and a lot of different soldiers. Just here their experience.”
How are you feeling now that you’re a few years removed from any serious injuries?
“I feel great. I feel great. I really felt by the middle of the season and towards the end last year, I really started playing like myself again. I look to build upon that. I had an awesome offseason. I was able to get away for a little bit too and get away from some football. Now I’m back into it and feeling great. I’m just really excited to be back.”
How do you think the defense can be better in 2016?
“It always helps to stay in our scheme and improve upon it. We’ve touched a little bit in the past few days about the things we’ve done well and the things we’ve done poorly. I think we need to start faster as a defense, we’ve talked about that. Limit those kind of two games that really got away from us, but continue to play our style of defense, continue to build our scheme with (Defensive Coordinator) Romeo (Crennel). And just attacking. Just attacking the play the way we know we are capable of doing.”
How do you feel about the addition of QB Brock Osweiler?
“Well, it’s obviously something that we felt we needed to address. We’re all excited about Brock and what he can bring to this team. But it’s early. We’re just going to worry about the defense for now and what we can do on our end.”
What is it that you want to tell the troops on your USO Tour?
“I’m going to listen to them more. I’m obviously going to listen to their experience and why they chose the path that they did. But I’m just very appreciative to go there and very appreciative for them. I’m going to let them know that. Just, like I said, really excited about the opportunity and to learn from them and hear about what they have to say.”
How much better are you mentally this offseason?
“A lot. Every offseason has gotten better. The further I get away from those injuries, it just seems like it’s kind of out of my head more and more. I’m not thinking about my legs as much anymore. I’m just really starting to play football and have that excitement again. Two back-to-back years and it was both physically and mentally just draining. I felt my first year back, I still wasn’t myself. I couldn’t play up to the capacity or even handle the workload at times. I’m over that. Just to have that in the past is an awesome feeling. Just really, really looking forward to this year.”
How much has the speed of the NFL game changed from your rookie year to now? Is the combine overrated?
“I think the combine is overrated, personally. I shouldn’t say that, there are certain things that should be done and certain things that shouldn’t. I’ll get into that another time, but it has slowed down for me mentally. My first year I remember just coming to the league and first thing you want to do is make a great impression on your teammates and get their respect. Once you gain the respect of the locker room, it’s when you kind of can settle down and play within your game and your realm. I think I’ve learned a lot. I diagnose plays a lot earlier now. I watch a lot more film and I just expect things. I’ve changed my way of thinking and definitely have matured a ton being in the NFL. It makes you grow up fast or you won’t be in the league anymore. That’s just how it works. It’s an extremely competitive business. The older you get, the harder you have to work. That’s another thing I’ve realized as well. My off-season’s have gotten cut shorter and shorter every year, just to stay in physical shape and stay at the top of my game.”
How has your mindset changed since your rookie year?
“I think my first year or two, I just wanted to hit everyone and run after everything and tackle everything moving, sometimes my own teammates and just getting in the way of a lot of things. I’ve kind of – at times, I’m not saying that’s why I got hurt, but it might have been. It might have added to it. I think I’m just a smarter player overall right now. Once you think a lot more and you watch a lot more film, the game kind of slows down a whole lot. You’re able to move around a lot more and help other guys as well, which I felt I’ve been able to do a lot more these past couple years.”
Does it matter as an inside linebacker whether you’re going against a team who has one primary running back or a ‘running back by committee’ approach?
“I think it definitely does affect your game plan, just knowing what kind of running back or running backs you’re going to be going against. You look at certain teams that have three running backs, you look at certain teams that keep one running back in the whole game, and it’s kind of like a pitcher in baseball. Against a starting pitcher or relief pitcher, and just knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each one, as opposed to one guy you know you’re going to be facing all game that probably is going to wear down by the third and fourth quarter. Sometimes it’s tougher to face three running backs that rotate in and out and stay fresh the whole game.”
What are your thoughts on the flood victims in Houston?
“We have a whole thing organized later today to go help a lot of the flood victims. It’s obviously a horrible thing that happens. You see some of the videos of people getting stuck in situations, losing cars, losing lower levels of homes or sometimes entire homes, whatever they own. Just a horrible situation, but anything we can do to help out, it’s something we are more than willing to do.”
WR DeAndre Hopkins
What did you think when you first heard that you guys had a chance at getting QB Brock Osweiler, what did you think when you got him and how was it working out with him and the guys in Arizona?
“I really didn’t hear about us trying to get him until we got him. When I heard that we got him, of course I was excited. He comes from a championship team. He backed up a great quarterback. I’m pretty sure that they took a lot of time and thought into that process, but I wasn’t informed about it before until we got him. That’s the only time I was informed, but everybody in this organization was pretty excited about it.”
People talk a lot about speed, but how important is mental quickness and having quick reactions?
“I mean, the best route receivers of all time, I don’t think ran a 4.4. It’s different than running a 40 and running a football route. You have to know how to play the game, and you can’t play it at a full pace all the time like you’re running the 40 with your head down. You have to be a student of the game, not just a track guy. It’s really self-explanatory. I’m pretty sure, anybody would rather take a great football player than the guy who runs a 4.1 and can’t catch.”
QB Brock Osweiler said he was really impressed with you and the other receiver’s work ethic out in Arizona, what were your impressions of that week of workouts?
“I was very impressed with his leadership skills, him getting everybody out there and demanding the best from us, giving us a time and a schedule, basically an itinerary of every day and what we have to do. For him not to know any of us, that speaks a lot about his character and his leadership skills.”
He can’t talk to the coaches about the playbook, how much did he rely on you to explain things to him?
“He had Tom Savage out there also with him, so those guys were doing more talking about the play book and what goes on in the quarterback room than him and I. We were talking about timing and things like that and what do I like to run, my favorite route and what he likes to throw the most and what he feels like he’s best at. We were just kind of going off each other’s talent.”
Did he start asking you things before you guys met up in Arizona?
“No, not really, we were just talking like friends, just building the chemistry. Hopefully he’s here a long time and hopefully I’m here a long time, just trying to build a long relationship.”
How much does that help when you go to those dinners together in building chemistry?
“To me, that’s more important than you meeting here at the stadium when you have to. That’s where you build that chemistry at. If you’re best friends outside of the football field, when you get out there on Sunday things are going to be much easier. You’re going to be able to know what each other are doing just from giving each other a look. That’s where most chemistry is built on championship teams.”
You’ve played with a lot of quarterbacks, how could having one quarterback benefit your play?
“It really doesn’t matter to me as long as there’s a football. But I mean, he’s a good quarterback and hopefully we can build off of what he did last year and what I did last year.”
Did you have to adjust to all the different quarterbacks last year and how they each throw the ball?
“Yeah you do, it’s not easy to go out. I can’t sit here and say I don’t, each guy throws a different football and they’re different velocities and different timing, but as a wide receiver you have to basically study your quarterback almost in the sense of going out. You have to study practice and see what this guy does better than this guy and what can I do to adjust my route to get a completion. You can’t run every route the same with every quarterback. It’s not easy but it’s something, if you want to be successful, you’ve got to adjust to.”
What’s this offseason been like for you now that you’re a Pro Bowler and one of the best receivers in the league?
“It’s been the same offseason, just surrounding myself with family, people that don’t look at me different, people that treat me the same, people that don’t call me a Pro Bowl receiver, just people that’ve been there that’ll always humble me and just basically keeping me where I’ve always been to have that drive.”
Is this your first football camp hosting coming up or have you done others?
“I did one in South Carolina with a former high school and college teammate of mine, Jarvis Jenkins, but this is my first camp by myself, yes.”
Talk about why you’re doing a camp here now.
“I mean why not? I haven’t done one here, I kind of wanted to do one in the past before but the timing and scheduling of my offseason really hasn’t added up, but I want to do one and continue it from here on out every year.”
What does the Texans picking up your fifth-year option do for you?
“I honestly don’t know exactly what the fifth-year option and stuff like that means, so I really can’t get in detail with that answer because I’m not exactly sure. I kind of got an idea, but I would love to play here. This is a great organization and they took the chance to go in the first round and draft me, so I’ve got to thank them for that.”
There’s so much emphasis on speed leading up to the draft with receivers, is speed overrated?
“I wouldn’t say it’s overrated because you don’t want to go out there and get a wide receiver that runs a 4.7 but can catch better than anybody, but it’s definitely not something that a wide receiver needs to be successful in the NFL.”
Of all the skills they make you go through, which one do you think is the most valuable one for guys at your position?
“I would say route-running. Well obviously being able to catch a football, but being able to just be an athlete and get open. Sometimes things aren’t going to be drawn up and go the way that it’s predicted to go. Defensive backs get paid to play this game also. You’re never just going to be solely wide open.”
It takes more than being fast to find a seam.
“Yeah, man. Where I’m from we say, ‘a guy is a dog or he is not a dog.’ Some people don’t know what that means, but it’s basically, ‘he is going to go and get it or he is not.’ It’s a little saying in South Carolina.”
It appears that the Texans will take another receiver in the draft, how much attention do you personally pay to the guys out there? Do you watch film to say I’d like to play with this guy?
“No, I honestly don’t. I let them do their job. They’ve done a good job of picking guys for this team. That’s out of my hands.
Just curiosity maybe?
“I mean, not really. I don’t really care who they draft. I know we’re going towards something positive, so that’s a good thing.”
Is being a dog good?
“It depends what kind of dog you are.”
QB Brock Osweiler
What have you been up to since signing with the Texans and how were the workouts in Arizona with the receivers?
“Well obviously a lot has taken place. After I saw you guys, my wife and I went back to Arizona and let the dust settle a little bit. Kind of take in the change that just took place and then we came right back to Houston and all my teammates were great as far as, I reached out to a couple guys and they told me a couple of areas that the majority of the team lives in. So we came out here and we searched around and we bought a home and we got acclimated to Houston a little bit. Then, like you said, a couple weeks ago I hosted the receivers and Tom Savage out in Scottsdale in Arizona. It was a great week, it really was. We got some great work in, as far as throwing routes. I was able to hear some of the language from this playbook. Those guys were coaching me up on the field. We threw at Arizona State, tremendous facilities. Then we’d get a little work out in, then each night we would pick a spot for dinner and we’d go out and hang out and get to know each other a little bit. Overall, the week was fantastic. It was a great week of work. We really got to know each other. Now, I’m here so it all kind of flew by. It was almost like the fast forward button was on.”
Does the fact you played in Josh McDaniels’ system your rookie year help you understand this offense?
“I was never coached by Josh McDaniels.”
But did the Broncos have some pieces of Josh McDaniels’ offense in place that you had to learn?
“Correct. Yes, I believe there was some carryover. How much? I don’t know because, like I said, I wasn’t with Josh. But talking to Mike McCoy and Adam Gase my rookie year, I certainly believe there was some carryover. Now that I’m able to have a playbook and really look at things, I’m definitely seeing some similarities. It’s all kind of like a little flashback to 2012. But it’s certainly helping me pick things up a little bit faster. Not everything is completely new.”
Could you talk about working with WR DeAndre Hopkins and how that relationship is coming?
“Working with Hop is fantastic. He’s obviously a tremendous talent, but he’s also a great person. The thing he really brings to the table is work ethic. I really saw that right away out there in Arizona. Every time we hit the field or the wright room, he was pushing everybody. He was working hard. He wants to get better. He wants to be great. That’s something that really makes a quarterback excited to be around. It’s not just Hop, it’s all those receivers. All those guys, Cecil (Shorts) and Keith (Mumphery) and Jaelen (Strong) all came out to Arizona and they worked their tails off. They really did. I didn’t take it easy on them that week. I was running them into the ground and making them earn their dinner each night. They all bring a tremendous work ethic, they are a lot of fun to work with. They’re great guys and most of all, they’re hungry to be great. That’s what makes it exciting to work with them.”
How helpful was it to have QB Tom Savage out there with you too?
“Tom’s a great guy. He really is. It was great having Tom there in Arizona because he was able to give me a little bit of background on how (Offensive Coordinator) Coach (George) Godsey and (Offensive Assistant) Coach (Pat) O’Hara and some of those guys want things done offensively here in Houston. To have Tom side-by-side and teaching me a few things along the way, and then like I said, just going out to dinner and getting to know the guys. It was a lot of fun. It’s a great group. I’m very excited to be a part of it.”
Are there some of your former ASU coaches in College Station who are expecting you to roll out the red carpet for them?
“Oh, yeah. I love those guys. Coach Noel Mazzone and Coach Taylor Mazzone, two tremendous coaches and even better people. It’s very, very nice to have them close by. I don’t know how often I’ll get to see them, but anytime we can get a little bit of work in a park somewhere and work on some drills, I’m all for it.”
Can you take us through what your process was for studying the playbook?
“I don’t know how many of you guys have seen an NFL offensive playbook, but it’s not the smallest book in the world. So if you try to take it all on at once, you’re just going to be swimming and you’re going to be lost. So, it’s a like anything in life. You just take it day-by-day, step-by-step, and little-by-little. You start on page one and before you know it, you’ve gotten through a couple hundred pages and you just try to soak it all in. It’s a long process. It’s not something that you can do overnight. It’s not something that you can do in a week. It takes months to learn an NFL offense. My biggest deal is just chomp away. Set one small daily goal. Just work little-by-little and kind of chomp away at it. Before you know it, about training camp time, it all comes together and you’re out there running it like you’ve been doing it for years.”
Did you give yourself some time off before you started studying the playbook?
“A little bit. I was very eager to dive into the iPad and see what we were going to be doing this season here in Houston. So there wasn’t much time off, but that’s okay. I love the game of football. Part of that is the studying aspect. As a quarterback in this league, I’m a firm believer that you need to know the playbook better than anybody. You need to know it better than the coordinator who has been in that system for years. The way you do that is by studying. So, as soon as I was able to get that iPad, I dove right into it. It continues to now. I know it can only go to noon here but each night I go home and I sit in my office for hours and just soak in this playbook as much as I can and as quick as I can.”
Did you start firing off questions to the receivers and QB Tom Savage about the playbook?
“Oh yeah, absolutely. I had a list ready to go. That’s part of this process. It’s getting to know each other as people, but it’s also getting to know each other on the field. So, I talked to DeAndre (Hopkins). ‘Okay, on this route, what are you thinking? Versus this coverage? Vesus this leverage? What do you think? How are you going to come out of this break?’ That’s all part of the process. Right now, it’s a day-by-day process. One day at a time. Like I said, I create one small goal daily and I believe all those little things will add up in the end.”
What impressed you the most about this group?
“Just their work ethic, it really is. I think it’s hard for a group of guys to go out to Scottsdale, Arizona. It was 95 degrees every day. Early in April when you could easily be at the beach in Florida or the beach in California or with your family wherever. To come out to Arizona and truly work as hard as they did – those four receivers and Tom Savage came out to Arizona. They worked hard every single day. I never heard one complaint about how hot it was or how many routes we were having them run. That was really exciting to see. They’re a group of receivers that work extremely hard and want to be great.”
What was your reaction to the schedule coming out?
“It’s exciting. It’s very exciting to see who you’re playing, when you’re playing. But bottom-line, that’s so far down the road. Like I just said, I have a very large playbook to learn. That’s my focus right now.”
Is your home okay after the flooding in Houston?
“Obviously, Sunday night and Monday was a very scary day. Not quite the welcome to Houston that you would expect, but fortunately our home was unharmed. I know a lot of people can’t say that, so it was very sad to see the things that have taken place here the past couple of days. But I think there’s a group of guys that are going to go out today and see some of those people that are going through hard times right now. I’m anxious to get out there and hear some stories and try to help them in any way that we can.”
What did you think about Broncos LB Brandon Marshall saying he’ll be ready for you when you play them in primetime?
“When that game comes, the Houston Texans will be prepared to play. But, like I said, that game is so far down the line. Right now, I just need to focus on learning this playbook and just taking it day-by-day. Like I said, it’s one small daily goal – that Bronco game will come, as well as all those other games. But right now, my focus is on learning this playbook.”
DE Devon Still
What does it mean to you to get another shot in the NFL after everything you’ve been through with your family?
“It means a lot. My daughter was first diagnosed with cancer and I made the decision to put her first and make her my number one priority knowing that I had a chance of losing football. But I understood if I lost football, I could always have the opportunity to play again. If I lost my daughter to cancer, I wouldn’t have that opportunity to get her back.”
Can you update us on your daughter?
“She’s doing a lot better. She’s finished with all her treatments. She’s just trying to get back to being a normal kid and experiencing all the things that kids should do. Everything is starting to turn around for us.”
Are you hosting a cancer event here in May?
“I’m actually working with another group that’s having an event for cancer and they actually invited me to their gala to speak there.”
Is that something you do a lot or are you focused on that in Houston?
“It’s something I do a lot. It’s something I definitely want to do in Houston now that I’m here. I want to make an impact on the cancer community and use my daughter’s battle with cancer to make a difference in people’s lives.”
What do you see as your contribution to the Texans defensive line?
“I’m very grateful that they gave me another opportunity to be on this team. I’m just going to go out there and take on whatever role that the Texans give me and do it to the best of my ability.”
How appreciative were you of everything the Bengals did for you and your daughter?
“It was very important. I’m grateful for everything that the Bengals did. They kind of helped kick start the whole ‘Leah Strong’ thing. They turned my daughter’s battle with cancer into something positive. Just for them sticking by me through those hard times because, like I said before, it was kind of hard to focus on football when my daughter was battling cancer. For them to understand what I was going through and do anything to help my family out was appreciated.”
Could you describe your daughter a little bit?
“I think over the past two years, people got a chance to understand a little bit about my daughter. She really has an up-beat personality. Her personality is what really helped us get through her battle because no matter how she was feeling or what she was going through, she always kept a positive attitude and kept a smile on her face.”
Can you talk about your wedding and the role your daughter will play?
“I got engaged right after my daughter was diagnosed with cancer and we put off the wedding because we wanted to make sure my daughter was able to participate in the wedding. She’s going to be our flower girl next month.”
What are your thoughts on being able to share that moment with your daughter?
“I’m excited. Like I said, everything is starting to turn around for us. We went through a lot of hard times these past two years and things are starting to look in a positive direction.”
Has the support and interest all over the country been overwhelming and how helpful has that been?
“It’s definitely been overwhelming, but in a good way. When I decided to go public with my daughter’s story, I did it with the mindset that I wanted it to be this big because I wanted people to understand what it’s like for families to battle childhood cancer, but I never thought it would go to this magnitude. Just to see how many people supported us, it’s truly amazing. It helped us get through those hard times when we had everybody basically in the country rooting for us.”
When is your wedding?
Do you feel you have anything to prove to the league?
“I don’t think I’m setting out to prove anything to the league. I think I’m setting out to prove something to myself and show my daughter something. She’s taught me a lot about life in these past two years of how to overcome adversity. I think it’s my turn now to show her now how to overcome adversity.”
WR Jaelen Strong
What are your first impression of QB Brock Osweiler and how were the workouts in Arizona?
“It was a great time. Brock is a great guy. I’m just looking forward to this season and excited to get to work.”
What are you looking to improve on this offseason after an up and down rookie year?
“Just being mentally prepared coming in at the right weight. Making a smooth transition. Ready to get to work, so I can be the best player I can for my team.”
Are you able to discuss the incident you had in Arizona and if there are any league ramifications?
“It’s up in the air right now. I don’t really know what’s going on right now. All I can say is I’m here ready to get to work and be great for the 2016 season.”
What do you expect from yourself this season?
“Just working hard every day. Coming to work ready every day and putting time and effort in every day, so I can go out there and be prepared. Week 1, we play against the Bears and be the best player I can for Coach (Bill) O’Brien and the Houston Texans.”
Did you know QB Brock Osweiler before he signed with the Texans?
“We knew of each other just because we went to Arizona State, but he left a couple years before I got there.”
What were the workouts like with all the receivers and quarterbacks Tom Savage and Brock Osweiler? Were they casual or organized?
“We were just trying to get him on board. Basic stuff, pretty much out there to get to know each other and get that bond going. So we can be on the same page this season.”
Were you together a lot?
“Yeah, we went out to eat and stuff. Like I said, bonding was a big key.”
How do you move forward after the embarrassment of the incident in Arizona this offseason?
“It’s pretty embarrassing. Forget about me, but my family, the Houston Texans and everybody that gave me an opportunity and believed in me. It’s a setback but that’s nothing I haven’t been through before, I’ve been through plenty of setbacks. I’m just ready to get to work and put it all out on the field.”
Have your teammates supported you throughout all this?
Were those workouts initiated by QB Brock Osweiler and what kind of leader do you think he is?
“Yeah, Brock suggested that we all go out there, get together, enjoy some nice weather, get some work in and just hang around each other, bond with each other, everybody get familiar with each other. I feel like Brock will be a great leader.”
What do you think about DE J.J. Watt coming back from his surgery this offseason?
“J.J. is going to be J.J. He is going to be great. Nothing surprised me.”
Did you have any trouble with the flooding in Houston?
“No trouble with the flood, thank you.”
DE J.J. Watt
What were your thoughts when the team brought in QB Brock Osweiler?
“In this league, it’s a quarterback-driven league. To have some stability at that position is great. I don’t really have a whole lot to say about it. It’s my job to go out there and make sure our defense is playing great, so that’s all I can focus on.”
Can you give us an update on your health situation?
“Yeah, I feel really good. It’s coming along really well, very close to getting back to 100%. I think our trainers have done a great job. I think everybody that helped me back in Wisconsin has done a great job. I think the doctor that did the surgery did a great job. Now it’s just a matter of building back to being better than where I was before which is my goal.”
Do you have a timetable on that?
“I don’t know. I really don’t know. I feel really good, I think I’m farther along than maybe I thought I’d be. It’s just day-to-day and no worries whatsoever moving forward. Now it’s just the process every single day.”
You talked about wanting to only continue playing at a high level, can you talk about that?
“Yeah, I mean my goal is to go out here every single day and that’s why I love the game, that’s why players love the game because it’s a day-to-day process. You can come into work every single day and find something to improve on every single day. I think that once that becomes not fun, that’s kind of when guys get that, ‘maybe it’s time.’ That’s what’s so fun about this game, that’s what’s so fun about competing. That’s why we love it, because every single day is a new opportunity to improve, to make yourself better, and to find ways to be great. I love that, I love it right now, so as long as I can continue to love it, I’ll continue to play.”
Are you and Kate Hudson working out together?
“Of course it would be you, John (McClain). You belong over at TMZ more than you do at the Chronicle. No, no.”
Does anything on social media over the last few months faze you at all?
“I mean I obviously cared enough to clear it up, but I think that’s today’s world. I think we have social media and people want to see access, they want to know what you’re doing, they want day-to-day, what’s going on in his life? Then every single thing you do becomes a story, whether it’s a tweet, whether it’s an Instagram post, whether it’s a snapchat, every single thing becomes a story so I think if people don’t want to see what I’m doing they should probably stop following me. That’s basically what it comes down to. I think one of the problems with all the social media we have nowadays is it becomes a cynical world. I think there’s a lot of people out there that want to believe that somebody’s being fake, they want to believe that somebody is doing things just for attention, when in reality there’s a whole lot of people out there doing good things for the world. If we could just believe in the good and we can actually spend our energy on being good people and doing good things as opposed to trying to rip other people down or trying to poke flaws in other people, I think then we can truly help make changes in the world. Why would I worry about what somebody says when all they do is go on the internet and try to rip other people down? That’s not the type of person I want to associate myself with. I’m going to go out there, I’m going to keep trying to inspire people. I’m going to keep trying to motivate people. I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing. I haven’t changed anything I’ve been doing for my whole career. I’ve been doing alright with that so far, so I’m going to try to have more success.”
What’s the end game that makes the wear and tear on your body worth it?
“The end game is winning, it’s doing whatever possible, and it’s leaving everything on the line. I think that’s what athletes do. That’s kind of the lifelong tale of athletes is they do whatever it takes to go out there and compete and win for your teammates and for your fans. I’ve made no secret about it before, they pay you a ridiculous amount of money to play this game, and yeah you better give them everything that you have. You better give every ounce of energy that you have, and if you’re able to step out there, go out there and play. I just, that’s what I grew up with, I grew up watching guys fight through stuff whether it was physical adversity or mental adversity. I grew up in Wisconsin and watched Brett Favre play right after his father died. You watch guys play through injuries that you didn’t think they’d be able to play through. That’s just kind of the game that I grew up watching, so I want to try to go out there and continue to play the game the way that I learned it.”
Are you aware of what Lawrence Taylor said about you, that he put you right up there behind Deacon Jones, Reggie White and him as the fourth best ever?
“I mean, it’s a great compliment anytime that you get a compliment from somebody who’s played the game, who’s been in the trenches, who knows how difficult it is to play this game. It’s not my goal to be fourth-best in anything. I want to be - you don’t play the game to be fourth-best. You don’t play anything to be fourth-best, you want to go out there and be the best. That’s what we’re all working towards, that’s what every athlete wants. I’m going to continue to work towards that, I’m going to continue to try and be that. I think that’s what, as a player, as a team, that’s what everybody does, that’s why you play the game. It wouldn’t be fun if everybody was trying to be fourth best, but I very much appreciate the comments coming from a guy who did it at a very high level for a very long time and having my name amongst some of the best ever is obviously an honor.”
What would it be like if your brother, Derek Watt, got to play with you here in Houston?
“Yeah, I think my brother is a very good football player. I love watching him, he works his ass off, he’s very smart, he can do a lot of things from the fullback position, he can catch, he can block, he knows what he’s doing, he knows offenses well and I work out with him so I know how hard he works. He works extremely hard. It would be special. He got to play with my brother, my other brother in high school and in college, and I’m the one that never go to play with either of them. It would be cool. The opportunity to play against him would also be cool, might not be ideal for my mom or my family. I think either way he deserves a shot. The thing I’m most proud of he’s done it his way. It’d be easy for him to fall into the shadow of being – I mean I see it when I watch his games, they tag him right away as my brother. He could be upset about that but he goes out there and he works to make his own path and his own life, and I’m proud of him for that.”
What are your thoughts on the weather Houston has been having and the floods?
“The weather here is insane. I’m from Wisconsin and we deal with blizzards and things like that, and down here it’s flooding. I’ve never personally seen anything like it. It’s crazy, so obviously our thoughts go out to everybody who’s been affected. It’s wild.”