By John P. Lopez
His passive aggression was as thinly veiled as his attempts at concealing the discomfort in his back.
Arian Foster returned to the Texans practice field Wednesday, briefly, and could have walked away from the day with masses of fans and members of the media beginning to change their opinions about the Diva Back.
He could have been hailed as a football warrior; a walking testament to the unselfish, faceless, no-one-person-is-bigger-than-the-team mentality that head coach Bill O’Brien is trying to establish. Most important, despite not fully participating in practice seemingly because of his back issue or precautionary limitations, he could have in an instant become the best teammate he could possibly be.
Instead, Foster became the worst. The absolute worst.
With a childish, selfish, disingenuous post-practice act, Foster cast the middle-finger to the media, Texans fans and, most important, his teammates and coaches.
When Foster returned to practice after missing two days because of some kind of aggravation to his back and lower-extremities, it was a surprise to see him return so quickly. It was a big surprise. For all his bizarre characteristics, after all, Foster is the best thing this Texans offense has going for it. Plus, despite battling injuries in recent seasons, Foster is a proven commodity.
Frankly, he didn’t have to return to practice on Wednesday, or the rest of this week or next, for that matter. No one would care if Foster even played a down the entire preseason. He is that good and that important.
And when he returned despite what clearly was some kind of discomfort or tightness in his back — as he repeatedly could be seen talking with trainers and stretching his back on Wednesday — Foster obviously was on the field despite not being 100-percent.
But then he spoke to the media for the first time. What followed made Foster look even more like the Prima Donna he is. Worse, by answering every question with, “I’m just trying to be the best teammate I can be,” Foster did exactly what O’Brien preaches against.
He made it all about Arian Foster. He thumbed his nose at the world, jammed a wedge between himself and the public and unfairly put pressure on teammates and coaches to answer for him and explain his nonsense.
Say what you will about all you care about is Foster producing on the field. Regardless, he acted bigger than the team, as if the rules of simple propriety and Bill O’Brien apply to everyone but him.
He also gave himself little leeway the next time — and there will be a next time — he makes a mistake or, worse, misses time because of injuries that continue to nag. What a child.
Here is the complete transcript of Wednesday’s shenanigans:
1. How do you feel? Were you 100 percent out there today?
Foster: I’m just out here trying to be the best teammate I can be and I’m gonna work hard at doing that.
2. Physically, you’re good to go?
F: I’m just trying to be the best teammate I can be, man.
3. Arian, can you tell us exactly what kept you out, what was going on?
F: Yeah, man. I’m just trying to be the best teammate I can be, you know. I’m gonna work hard at doing that.
4. What was physically wrong with you?
F: Yeah, I’m just out here, working hard every single day, trying to be the best teammate I can be.
5. What did it mean to be able to get back out here and start working, Arian? And get back with your teammates?
F: You know, being with your teammates and being the best teammate you can be is what you strive to do. So that’s what I’m out here for.
6. Your teammates talk about how they want to see you out here. They know what you mean to this ballclub. What does all that stuff mean to you, Arian?
F: Yeah, man. I’m just (trying) to be the best teammate you can be, man. Just work hard at doing that every single day. That’s what we’re out here trying to do.
7. Is your body starting to break down?
F: Yeah, man. I’m just out here trying to be the best teammate I can be. And I’m gonna work hard at doing that.
8. How’s that coming, Arian, your progress with being a better teammate?
F: Yeah, you know, I’m just, every single day, just trying to be a better teammate, man.
9. What do you think about these fans going crazy for you guys?
F: Yeah, man. I’m just out here trying to be the best teammate I can be. And I’m going to continue doing that.
10. Is there any difference in the way you felt physically, feel stronger?
F: Yeah, man. I’m just out here trying to be the best teammate I can be. And I’m just going to continue to do that.
11. What was the offseason like, working at your brother’s facility, different than other previous seasons?
F: Yeah, just every single day, man, just working hard, trying to be the best teammate I can be.
You got that down.
F: Thank you.
F: Y’all take care.