A handful of Texans players thought about leaving the facility and Pro Bowl receiver DeAndre Hopkins actually went through with the act after controversial comments about players from Houston owner Bob McNair.
At a meeting including other owners and commissioner Roger Goodell, McNair reportedly said “we can’t have inmates running the prison,” referring to players kneeling during the national anthem.
“I regret that I used that expression,” McNair said in a statement released Friday morning. “I never meant to offend anyone and I was not referring to our players. I used a figure of speech that was never intended to be taken literally. I would never characterize our players or our league that way and I apologize to anyone who was offended by it.”
Head coach Bill O’Brien said Hopkins will be in Seattle and start when the team takes on the Seahawks on Sunday, adding the player took “a personal day.”
“I’m 100 percent with these players,” O’Brien said. “Our coaching staff’s 100 percent behind these players. I just want to focus on Seattle. I think that’s what our team is trying to do.”
O’Brien, general manager Rick Smith, and assistant head coach Romeo Crennel held a 90-minute meeting where the players would have an opportunity to voice any concerns.
Left tackle Duane Brown ended his holdout and will return to the lineup Sunday to give the Texans some much-needed line depth. But he didn’t mince his words about how he felt about McNair’s words.
“I think the comments were disrespectful and ignorant,” Brown said. “It sickened me.”