FRISCO, TX (CBS HOUSTON) – With the NFL’s 2017 regular season less than two weeks away most teams around the league’s main focus is football-related, but in the midst of the ongoing impact of Hurricane Harvey football has taken a backseat for the Houston Texans.
The Texans flew directly to the Dallas-Fort Worth area following their preseason game in New Orleans Saturday night where they practiced today at The Star, the Dallas Cowboys $1.5 billion practice facility.
Head coach Bill O’Brien, quarterback Tom Savage and defensive lineman JJ Watt met with the media following today’s practice to discuss the adversity the city of Houston is facing, the difficulty of not being in the city with their loved ones and the ongoing efforts to provide help to the victims of Hurricane Harvey financially.
O’Brien on what the last few days have been like for his football team:
Watt, who has already helped raise hundreds of thousand’s of dollars in relief efforts (including $100,000 of his money), following a post on social media from his hotel Sunday night describes the importance of the people around the country, not just in Houston, coming together during tough times:
“To see so many people support, to see so many people share the message, spread the message that’s incredible and that’s what Houston’s all about, it’s a very diverse city, it’s a very resilient city, it’s been through things like this before. Maybe not of this magnitude, but it’s been through these types of situations. People are coming together, people are helping raise each other up and I think it’s not only from the state of Texas, it’s from all over the country, and I think that’s something special about this country. That’s what this country is about is lifting each other up when we’re down and I think we’re in a time right now where obviously the city of Houston, the state of Texas, obviously the southeastern part is down so we need to help them as much as we can and I think it’s been unbelievable the amount of support that people have shown.”
O’Brien also announced during his opening statement at his post-practice session with the media that Texans owner Bob McNair will donate $1 million to The United Way Greater Houston relief fund to help relief funds.
Following O’Brien’s announcement about McNair’s donation, Charlotte Jones Anderson, the executive vice president of the Dallas Cowboys, announced the NFL Foundation will match McNair’s $1 million and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft announced he will match the $1 million as well.
Although the relief efforts have already begun Hurricane Harvey is still ongoing and more severe weather is expected in the coming days. Watt was asked if he had any advice for people still dealing with the flooding and weather in Houston and said safety is the most important priority right now and that he has no doubt the city will come back strong.
Savage, the Texans starting quarterback, has been a Texas resident for three years, but says he has a greater understanding of the term “Texas Tough.” “When I got drafted here I kept hearing the term “Texas tough” and it really shows in these situations, Houston’s a really resilient city. Everyone’s out there, everyone’s fighting, everyone’s battling and I know as a city we’ll get through this and it’s really unfortunate.”
The Texans and Cowboys are scheduled to meet Thursday night in their final preseason games at NRG Stadium in Houston, but the status of the meeting is uncertain due to the flooding in Houston, but there has been speculation that the game could be moved to AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
Watt says that he wouldn’t mind seeing Thursday night’s game cancelled rather than moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. “I think there are much bigger things at hand, absolutely. I think that the most important thing right now is family and friends and the city of Houston back home, making sure they’re safe, making sure they’re taken care of it and if there is something played this week, I think we should definitely involve some sort of fundraiser, some sort of way to benefit the people back home, because I think this is a much bigger issue than just a football game.”
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