HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – After DeAndre Hopkins first day of training camp Monday he heard cheers from the fans that attended the open practice after catching a pair of touchdowns from Brock Osweiler. In addition, he heard chants of “Get that money” and “Pay that man”, a subject that neither the Texans nor Hopkins were all that interested in addressing in the early stages of camp.
Hopkins made it clear that he wanted to focus on football and wasn’t trying to make a statement by sitting out Sunday’s camp opener.
“I wasn’t trying to send a message or anything like that. I was doing what I felt was best for me and my family,” Hopkins told reporters.
Texans GM Rick Smith mentioned on Monday that Hopkins and his representatives made it known earlier in the offseason that he was seeking a new deal that would increase the 1.45 million dollars he is scheduled to make in 2016. Smith made it clear to him that the Texans stance of not negotiating into the fourth season of a rookie deal was firm. Hopkins seemed optimistic his play will be reason enough for the Texans to give him a raise.
“Everything will work itself out,” Hopkins said. “All I have to do is come out here and prove what I’m worth.”
Bill O’Brien mentioned that the team was much more crisp on Monday saying the team had to shake some rust off in the practice opener. The offense, led by Osweiler was especially crisp when the new QB found Hopkins for a touchdown on his first throw.
O’Brien was complimentary of Hopkins on his return to the practice field.
“He’s right back in the swing of things. He made some nice plays today. It’s good to have everybody out there.”
Osweiler had a bit of shaky first day which included an interception, but the chemistry between him and Hopkins was immediate and consistent.
“It’s getting better,” Hopkins said about his chemistry with Osweiler. “From where we started to where we are now, we’ve come a long way.”
Hopkins has proven to be a leader in a wide receiving core that is mostly first and second year players except for Hopkins and Cecil Shorts III. Hopkins showed enthusiasm for the receiver group as a whole.
“I haven’t been around a bunch of guys that are motivated and hungry like this in a long time,” Hopkins said. “Each guy knows what they can do, each guy knows their role, each guy is coming out here and practicing hard. Everybody wants to be a No. 1, and that’s what I love because they’re pushing me to be better.”
While Hopkins’ contract situation has not been resolved, he has decided to return to camp and contribute for the time being until the contract finally arrives.
“I play football for a living. That’s my job. I love coming out here and being with my teammates,” Hopkins said. “I just have to keep working. I know it’ll come. I’m not rushing it. I know it’ll happen one day.”
The Texans have given players new contracts before their rookie deal is up, including the 6-year 100 million dollar contract JJ Watt signed in 2014. Texans owner Bob McNair told Sportsradio 610’s John McClain “I think it’s in (Hopkins) best interest to be here. We’ll deal with his contract at the proper time. We take care of our players and we’ll take care of him.”
Alex Del Barrio can be heard on Saturday afternoons with Matt Murphy from 3-7 pm and on Sunday afternoons with Jeremy Branham on Sportsradio 610. Follow Alex Del Barrio on Twitter: @alexdelbarrio