Tagged in: Houston Texans

Deshaun Watson met with Houston Texans coach David Culley, still wants to be traded

Quarterback Deshaun Watson met with new Houston Texans coach David Culley last Friday, according to sources, and informed Culley that he has no plan of suiting up for the team again.

Upset over the way the organization has operated in recent years, Watson has asked the Texans to trade him and has had very little contact with the team since the season ended.

The conversation with Culley is believed to have been the first between the two. Culley said in his introductory news conference that he expected Watson to be on the team in 2021.

But according to the sources, Watson’s message to Culley in Friday’s meeting was that nothing has changed on his end and he still would like to be traded. So far, the Texans have told interested teams that they don’t intend to trade Watson, who just last summer signed a four-year, $156 million contract extension that runs through 2025.

Trading Watson would cost the Texans $21.6 million in dead money against this year’s salary cap — a significant hit since his cap number if he’s on the team is just $15.94 million.

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Any team acquiring the young superstar would get a tremendous bargain in 2021, as Watson is arranged to earn just $10.54 million in salary this year before that number jumps to $35 million in 2022, $37 million in 2023 and $32 million each in 2024 and 2025.

If the Texans choose not to trade Watson, he could opt not to report to mandatory team activities or training camp, but at a cost.

Houston can fine Watson $95,877 for missing minicamp and can fine him $50,000 per day for each day of training camp missed, plus one week’s salary — $620,000 — for each preseason game missed. In the unlikely scenario that Watson chooses to retire, the Texans can collect $21.6 million.

Watson’s trade request came after he was reportedly unhappy with the process used by the team to hire new general manager Nick Caserio in early January.

Watson set career highs in the 2020 season in passing yards, touchdowns and completion percentage. He also threw a career-low seven interceptions. His 33 touchdowns and 4,823 passing yards were single-season franchise records.

He is the NFL’s career leader in completion percentage at 67.8%, ahead of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. In 2020, Watson became just the 11th player in NFL history to complete at least 70% of his passes in a season.

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Houston Texans WR Will Fuller, CB Bradley Roby suspended six games under NFL’s PED policy

Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller V and cornerback Bradley Roby have been suspended for six matches for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Fuller stated the violation was a result of his taking prescribed medication not permitted under the policy.

“Earlier this year, I sought treatment from a medical professional who prescribed medication that he believed to be permitted under the NFL’s drug policy,” Fuller wrote on Instagram.

“As it turns out, my trust in this professional was misplaced because this medication was NOT an acceptable substance under the NFL Policy on Performance Enhancing Substances.

“As a result of this mistake, I have been suspended for six games for taking this prohibited medication. I want to sincerely apologize to the Texans organization and all of my fans for this mistake. I am looking forward to putting this all behind me and returning better than ever in 2021.”

“His hunger to get on the end of things is the key for a centre-forward. Sometimes it hurts and sometimes it doesn’t but to score you have to be in there.”

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Roby, in a tweet Monday night in which he apologized to his family and teammates, stated that a “few months ago, I unknowingly used a product that was contaminated with a banned substance by the NFL. I recognize that it is my job to know, and be responsible for, everything I put in my body.”

Both suspensions will start with the final five games of this campaign and end with the first of the 2021 season.

Fuller, 26, is coming off his best game of the season — in a year full of impressive performances — versus the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving, when he added six catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns to his impressive 2020 totals.

Fuller has 53 receptions for 879 yards and eight touchdowns this season. Through 11 games, Fuller has more receiving yards and touchdowns than the Texans’ former No. 1 wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, had for Houston at this point last season.

After missing 22 games in his first four seasons in the NFL, Fuller had not missed a game this season.

He was playing on his fifth-year option and will be a free agent after the season. With Fuller suspended, Randall Cobb on injured reserve and Kenny Stills recently released, the Texans (4-7) are left with four wide receivers: Brandin Cooks, Keke Coutee, Isaiah Coulter and Steven Mitchell, who is on the practice squad.

With Roby, 28, suspended, the Texans lose their top cornerback and are left with Vernon Hargreaves and Phillip Gaines as their top two remaining players at the position. Cornerback Gareon Conley, acquired for a third-round pick during the 2019 season, has been on injured reserve all season.

In 10 games this season, Roby has 37 tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery. He signed a three-year, $31.5 million contract in March.

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Detroit Lions fire head coach Matt Patricia, general manager Bob Quinn

The Detroit Lions have fired coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn, the team revealed Saturday.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will serve as the Lions’ interim coach, per an informed source.

Patricia’s firing comes two days after the Lions suffered a blowout loss to the Houston Texans on Thanksgiving Day, which put the team’s record at 4-7.

Patricia was asked about his job security in the immediate aftermath of the loss. “On behalf of my family, I want to thank Bob and Matt for their hard work and their dedication to the Lions organization over the past several years,” Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp stated during a Zoom call presser Saturday afternoon.

“They’re both very fine men, and we wish them nothing but the best in the rest of their careers. Obviously, this season has not gone the way we expected. We want to take the rest of this year to assess every aspect of our football operation, find the best individuals to lead and coach our team.”

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Ahead of the 2020 season, Lions ownership made it clear to Patricia and Quinn that the team needed to be playoff contenders this campaign. After losing four of their last five after Week 12, ownership materialized the writing on the wall.

Patricia amassed a 13-29-1 record in his two-plus seasons as Lions head coach.

Patricia was hired by the Lions in 2018 after serving as the New England Patriots defensive coordinator for six years.

Patricia succeeded Jim Caldwell, who was fired by the Lions after four seasons as coach. Caldwell had three winning seasons during his time in Detroit and made the playoffs twice. Since Patricia’s hiring, the Lions rank in the bottom 10 in scoring, total and pass defense, and they are tied for fewest takeaways (43) in the NFL since 2018.

The Lions’ .314 triumph percentage during Patricia’s tenure ranked 27th in the NFL. Patricia has the worst career win percentage by any coach whose teams averaged 21-plus points per match in the Super Bowl era (minimum 40 games coached).

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Chiefs start title defense with 34-20 victory over Texans

Just about the only thing that looked familiar about the NFL’s long-awaited return Thursday night was the sight of Patrick Mahomes effortlessly leading the Kansas City Chiefs up and down the field.

The Super Bowl MVP threw for 211 yards and three touchdowns, Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran through the rain for 138 yards and another score, and the Chiefs started defense of their first championship in 50 years by defeating the Houston Texans 34-20 on Thursday night before a socially distanced crowd of about 17,000 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill each caught TD passes for the Chiefs. They have won 10 consecutive dating to last season. That run includes a come-from-behind 51-31 victory over the Texans in the divisional round of the playoffs.

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The Texans’ Deshaun Watson threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score, but he also was under relentless pressure and was intercepted once.

David Johnson provided the biggest bright spot for Houston, running for 77 yards and a score.

The world has changed dramatically in the seven months since the Chiefs hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in Miami.

Within six weeks, the term COVID-19 had become a part of everyday life, the disease killing more than 900,000 people around the globe. The death of George Floyd at the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer in May touched off the Black Lives Matter movement, which in turn has led to a summer of social unrest that has gripped the country.

Against that backdrop came an NFL opener unlike any other: masks worn by everyone from fans to the coaching staffs; a series of videos raising awareness of social justice initiatives and encouraging the public to vote; and ultimately both teams locking arms in a display of unity previous to the coin toss.

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Houston J.J Watt says it’s still too early to make call on playing

Texans defensive end J.J. Watt said Wednesday that it’s too early for players to make a decision on whether they’ll play this campaign given the many unknowns that remain with the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’ve been on the NFLPA calls the last couple times we’ve had them,” Watt said on a conference call when asked whether he’s made a decision on whether to play.

“I don’t think we’re anywhere … I don’t think we’re at a point yet where people are making that decision because we don’t have enough information yet to be making decisions like that. So I think that it’s a very fluid process, and I think it keeps coming up. Obviously … the report date gets closer and closer. But as of right now, we really don’t have enough information to make a decision like that, I would say.”

The Texans report to training camp July 25. They are programed to open the season at the Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 10.

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Watt was asked whether he believes it is necessary to play preseason matches. The league canceled the NFL’s preseason-opening Hall of Fame Game and shortened the preseason from four games per team to two in order to help players acclimate to being back on the field after going through a virtual offseason program. Last week, a source told ESPN that the NFL Players Association’s board of player representatives voted to recommend canceling all 2020 preseason games.

“If the doctors and the PA doctors decide that it’s not in the best safety interest of the players to have them, then we don’t have to,” Watt said. “But I also at the same time think about undrafted guys and the guys who make a roster in the fourth preseason game and how special that is and how many opportunities would be missed from that. So I’m on both sides of the fence.

“I think obviously as a vet, personally do I think that preseason games for somebody in my situation is absolutely necessary? I would say, I don’t think so. But I think there are a whole bunch of people who need those opportunities and who live for those opportunities. I mean, it can literally change a life. So I see, I see the other side of it where somebody could literally have their entire dream come true because of those games, so that’s a very difficult debate to have.”

Watt stated he hoped the NFL was looking at the way the other leagues are operating in their attempts to return to play.

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Texans special teams coach Brad Seely retiring after 31 NFL seasons

Houston Texans special teams coordinator Brad Seely will be retiring from coaching after 31-campaigns of coaching the team revealed on Friday. Seely has been instrumental in turning around the Texans special teams unit since he arrived in 2018. 

“I’ve been incredibly fortunate to spend over 30 years in the NFL coaching the game I love,” said Seely in a statement. “I want to thank each and every coach, player and staff member I worked with from when I entered the league in 1989 until now. I’ve been blessed to be a part of some of the best organizations in professional sports and I will forever cherish the friendships and memories I’ve made around the league.”

Seely is retiring after 31 seasons coaching in the NFL.

Seely served as a team’s special teams coordinator in every season from 1989 to 2019 and owns 41 years of overall coaching experience. He appeared in nine conference championship games, conquered three Super Bowls and coached 10 different players to 17 special teams Pro Bowl selections.

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“Brad Seely is one of the best special teams coaches in NFL history and his contributions to the game have been unparalleled,” said Texans Head Coach and General Manager Bill O’Brien. “I first met Brad when we were both assistant coaches in New England and immediately recognized his ability to connect with his players and teach them about the game in his own unique way. Brad has won at every stop in his 30-year career and his résumé of three Super Bowl victories and five conference championship appearances speaks for itself. It was an honor and privilege to coach alongside Brad and I will always consider him a friend. On behalf of the entire Texans organization, we wish him and his family the best in his retirement.”

The Texans have assistant special team coach Tracy Smith who has spent 10 of his 11 campaigns in the NFL as Seely’s assistant coaching special teams.  Seely started his NFL career coaching the Indianapolis Colts (1989-1993), New York Jets (1994), Carolina Panthers (1995-1998), New England Patriots (1999-2008), Cleveland Browns (2009-2010), San Francisco 49ers (2011-2014) and Oakland Raiders (2015-2017) before joining the Texans in 2018.

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Rams trade Brandin Cooks to Texans

The Los Angeles Rams are trading receiver Brandin Cooks to the Houston Texans, according to a person familiar with the deal.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday because the teams hadn’t informed the trade. The NFL Network reported the Rams will get a second-round pick while sending a future fourth-rounder to Houston.

Cooks will help the Texans replace DeAndre Hopkins, who was shockingly traded to the Arizona Cardinals last month for running back David Johnson and two draft picks.

While Cooks hasn’t matched Hopkins’ superstar play, Cooks is a fast, steady deep threat who has five 50-reception seasons over his six-year career. Cooks posted 1,000-yard seasons for each of his first three NFL teams: New Orleans, New England and Los Angeles.

Cooks, a California native who spent his first three campaigns with the Saints, played the past two years for the Rams after they acquired him from the Patriots. Los Angeles gave him an $81m contract extension through 2023 before he played a game for the team.

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Cooks played in back-to-back Super Bowls, suiting up for New England in early 2018 and for the Rams in early 2019.

He caught 80 passes for 1,204 yards and five touchdowns in 2018 with the Rams’ NFC championship team.

But Cooks managed a career-low 42 catches for just 583 yards last season while overcoming the latest in a series of concussions. He had only 15 catches after Week 7, and he sat out for two games after incurring a concussion during the Rams’ game against Cincinnati in London.

Cooks has incurred at least five concussions during his NFL career. He didn’t play for four weeks after his most recent concussion, seeking additional medical help during that stretch.

Although Houston still has receivers Kenny Stills, Will Fuller and Randall Cobb, the Texans clearly wanted another veteran target for Deshaun Watson after they moved on from Hopkins and his steadily spectacular production. Hopkins, who has five career 1,000-yard seasons, caught roughly one-third of Watson’s completions over the past three years.

Cooks joins running back Todd Gurley in the offseason exodus of veteran talent from the Rams. Cooks and Gurley, the former AP Offensive Player of the Year, were essential components of coach Sean McVay’s offense over the past two seasons.

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Texans release veteran cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III

The Texans have cut veteran cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, the team said Friday.

Hargreaves signed with the Texans in November after he was cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after he was benched during a match.

After that match, Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said Hargreaves “didn’t look like he was hustling to go in for a tackle.”

Hargreaves could have stayed in Houston under his fifth-year option worth $9.6 million, but there was no dead money on the contract because the option is guaranteed for injury only before the start of the new league year in March.

In his end-of-season news conference, Texans coach Bill O’Brien said he thought Hargreaves “made the best of” his opportunity to join Houston during the campaign.

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“I don’t think that’s easy to be able to come in, in the middle of a season, and really later than that, and play that nickel position is not easy,” O’Brien said. “So, I give a lot of credit to Vernon. There’s a lot of things that he’s going to work hard to improve upon. We’re going to help them with that, but I think Vernon stepped into a tough situation and really made the best of it.”

Hargreaves, 24, was drafted by Tampa Bay with the No. 11 overall pick in 2016.

In 41 career games, the Florida product has two interceptions, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and 186 tackles.

The move helps the Texans clear an additional $10 million in salary cap space, which should help the club with its impending negotiations to keep defensive tackle D.J. Reader, running back Carlos Hyde, and a bevy of other free agents set to hit the open market when the new league year starts on March 18.

Hargreaves will now have the make the best of a situation where he will be on his third team in a 12-month span. The Texans will also have to make the best of a situation where there could be a swath of brand new faces at cornerback.

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Chiefs rally to beat Texans 51-31 in playoffs

Patrick Mahomes stalked up and down the sideline like a field marshal rallying his troops, the brilliant young quarterback imploring the Kansas City Chiefs to stay together even as the Houston Texans were on the verge of taking them apart.

The Chiefs already faced a 24-0 hole, bigger than any deficit they had overcome in franchise history.

”The biggest thing I was preaching,” Mahomes said later, ”was, ‘Let’s go do something special. Everybody is counting us out. Let’s go out there and play by play put it out there.’ And play by play, we did what we were supposed to do.”

Beginning with the first of his five touchdown passes, Mahomes and the Chiefs slowly chipped away at Houston’s seemingly insuperable lead. They continued to pick up momentum, outscoring the Texans 28-0 during the second quarter alone, and eventually reeled off 41 consecutive points before cruising the rest of the way to a 51-31 triumph Sunday that propelled Kansas City back to the AFC championship match for the second consecutive season.

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The Chiefs (13-4) became the first team in NFL history to win a playoff match by at least 20 points after trailing by at least 20.

They matched the fourth-biggest comeback in playoff history while winning a postseason game in back-to-back seasons for the first time. 

Travis Kelce and Damien Williams scored three touchdowns apiece, joining the 49ers’ Jerry Rice and Ricky Waters in Super Bowl 29 as the only teammates to score that many times in a postseason game.

Meanwhile, Mahomes led by example as much as by voice. He ended with 321 yards passing, becoming the first player in postseason history with at least 300 yards passing and five touchdowns while running for at least 50 more yards.

”You saw him going up and down the bench, he was talking to everybody, – ‘Just settle down,”’ Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. ”As a head coach, you can’t ask for more than that. When he’s the leader of your team and he’s going, ‘Hey, we’re going to be fine. Let’s not wait for the fourth quarter. Let’s go!’ And he did that.”

Now, after losing to the Patriots in overtime in last year’s conference title game, the Chiefs are back on the brink of their first Super Bowl appearance in 50 years.

They will host Tennessee next Sunday in a rematch from earlier this season after the Titans upset Lamar Jackson and the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens on Saturday night.

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Texans claim CB Vernon Hargreaves off waivers

The Houston Texans claimed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Vernon Hargreaves off waivers Wednesday, the team revealed.

Hargreaves was released by the Bucs on Tuesday after he was benched last weekend for what coach Bruce Arians deemed a lack of hustle. “He didn’t look like he was hustling to go in for a tackle,” Arians said when asked about Hargreaves, who surrendered a 55-yard catch to Andy Isabella at the beginning of the third quarter against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. “He was chasing somebody across the field, and he wasn’t running fast enough.”

It is the latest move by the Texans to bolster their secondary. They got Gareon Conley from the Oakland Raiders on Oct. 21 in exchange for a third-round pick. Conley was selected in the first round of the 2017 draft; Hargreaves was a first-round pick in 2016.

Hargreaves, 24, joins a secondary that has been dealing with injuries for much of the season.

Veteran cornerback Johnathan Joseph has been playing through shoulder and neck injuries, and cornerback Bradley Roby has missed the Texans’ past three games with a hamstring injury. Rookie corner Lonnie Johnson also missed Week 9 with a concussion.

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The Texans have allowed 277.3 passing yards per game, which ranks 29th inthe NFL.

Hargreaves, the 11th overall pick in 2016, was the Bucs’ top cornerback heading into this season.

Although he posted an interception in Week 1 and made a game-saving tackle on Christian McCaffrey on a goal-line stand in Week 2, Hargreaves, who was expected to be a leader, appeared to lack focus at times.

The Texans also waived cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun from the active roster. Hargreaves has a lot of work to do. His effort last Sunday for his former team was unacceptable. This is made obvious by the fact that the team cut him for it. His play has also been quite a rollercoaster over his three-plus year career. However, if Houston uses him correctly they could reap major benefits from an extremely low-risk move.

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