HOUSTON (SPORTSRADIO 610) — It’s no secret that Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has felt underappreciated by national fans and media for his career body of work.
But Hopkins said he feels like people are starting to come around.
“I feel like it’s coming along,” Hopkins said. “I don’t really follow social media a lot. But my little sister, that’s what she do. She always sends me stuff that people say. Even y’all sometimes in here, negative or positive. She keeps me up to date on that because she knows I never liked social media or what people say about me or commentaries.”
One such commentary was David Carr’s weekly ranking of the best offensive players in the league for NFL.com. This week, he listed Hopkins as the second best player at his position, to Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Antonio Brown, and seventh best overall.
“I feel like it’s definitely coming along,,” Hopkins said. “Even though our record is what it is, still to get that accolade and respect, I definitely feel like people are noticing my worth.”
That’s been a common theme for Hopkins throughout his career, people acknowledging his “worth.” He said it when the Texans made him the highest paid wide receiver in league history, signing him to a five-year, $81 million deal with $49 million guaranteed.
He’s said it before. He’s still saying it after.
“Since I’ve been in the league, I knew my worth,” Hopkins said. “I knew what i could do for an organization. I knew my position and where I felt like I was in the NFL. So there was really no concern on when I get money that it was going to change my mindset or how hard I work, because I still don’t feel like I get the credit of being the best, even though I feel like I am.”
Hopkins has pulled off a rare feat this season, earning a monster contract and actually living up to it in the eyes of fans and media.
Scanning the list of the highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL, for instance, you’ll see names like Cam Newton. Andrew Luck. Matt Stafford. Derek Carr. All of whom have struggled to perform on a level commensurate with their pay grade. Even among wide receviers. Dez Bryant. Demaryius Thomas. Tavon Austin. All players considered to be nice, but not necessarily needed.
But Hopkins — where would the Texans be without him?
This season, got 69 catches (sixth in the NFL) for 1,004 yards (fourth) and nine touchdowns (first), despite spending much of his time with Tom Savage at quarterback and not Deshaun Watson.
Since 2014, he has 334 catches (seventh in the NFL over the span) for 4,689 yards (third) and 30 touchdowns (sixth), with quarterbacks that include Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, Brandon Weeden, Case Keenum and that No. 17 guy.
“The body of work I’ve put in, even though stat sheets might not say it, I still feel like I can improve in my game to where there’s no doubt in people’s minds that i’m one of the best,” Hopkins said.
Hopkins has played well enough this season that an All-Pro bid seems within reach. What would that mean to him?
“That would be big, man,” Hopkins said. “That’s something that all receivers, especially of my caliber, who consider themselves No. 1 receivers, to be All-Pro, that’s something that you work on as a player. That’s just something that you play this game to get the accolade that you worked for.”