This spring, the Texans made the University of Wisconsin's JJ Watt their first pick in the draft. Normally, a rookie would attend a special camp and talk to his coaches as much as possible, but that wasn't allowed this year because of the lockout. Even when negotiations dragged on, Watt says he was never worried his first year in the NFL might not happen.
"I think that we have a great NFL PA staff and the owners wanted to come together and make it happen. I mean, this is the NFL; we wanted to play football, the fans want football, so we're just excited that it's back and we won't miss any games."
On Houston sports talk radio, a number of fans have voiced their displeasure with both the players and the owners. Although most fans appear ready to get the season underway, some have talked about boycotting games. Texans tight end James Casey, a graduate of Rice, says he understands and is thankful for the fans that have been supportive.
"You know, I'd just say thanks for sticking with us. The season's going to be here now. I know we missed the Hall of Fame game, but we're happy that we're going to be playing all of our preseason games and the regular season. Hopefully, once we get going again, the fans won't be too mad. I know they're mad but we're going to get everything done, so hopefully that will fix it a little bit."
As for getting back into the swings of things, tight end Joel Dreesen says it's nice to be able to use the team's facilities again, instead of private gyms or university facilities.
"I like to get in here early and go through a routine, as far as hot tub/cold tub, stretching all that stuff beforehand. Now it's good to talk about football and playbooks, as opposed to lawsuits and stuff like that."
The Texans are scheduled to play their first preseason game August 15th at Reliant Stadium.