WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. – The Houston Texans' fan base in South Texas may be small, but their season expectations are fierce!
The American Football Conference franchise has already proven it can be "Houston Strong." When you add the return of some of the most popular play makers, this coming season could be one to remember.
The 2018 Houston Texans arrived Wednesday for the second year in a row to White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, for training camp. It's been well-documented what the offense can do with healthy quarterback Deshaun Watson running the plays.
Watson had 1,699 yards passing and 19 touchdown passes as a rookie while breaking both team and NFL rookie records. His season came to an end thanks to a torn ACL in his right knee that he suffered during a team practice in Week 9.
Watson has told the media he feels completely healed and is ready to put in the work.
“It (returning to practice) felt normal. It felt natural. It didn’t really bother me at all. I didn’t really think twice about it. I’m just kind of going out there and performing, playing and practicing, trying to get better," he said.
The road to recovery has been hard on defensive end J.J. Watt. He's described the last two years as some of the worst in his life after suffering season-ending injuries in 2016 and 2017.
"You have tough days," Watt said. "I could stand up here and say, ‘No, it was great. Everything was awesome.’ But I went through some very tough times. Where I’m at today because of all of those tough times is a great place and I’m very happy. I’m very excited to be out here, and I feel really good.”
The three-time NFL defensive player of the year believes he's ready to participate at full strength and is on a personal mission to show everyone he can still play at a high level. Watt said he's been inspired by teammates who have returned from various injuries.
Watt has paid close attention to offensive tackle David Quessenberry, who returned to play for the Texans after being diagnosed with lymphoma in 2014.
"People are going through stuff that’s much worse than a broken leg and how hard they fight and how much they overcome. I can also look back at them and say how much I’ve learned and how important it is for me to go back on this field and play at the level I know I can play at, to show that I can overcome what I’ve been through.” Watt said. "I’m just so happy and fortunate to be back out on the field and playing the game I love. (I'm) looking forward to taking it one day at a time with the guys. We have so much fun. We have a good group of guys. We have a good coaching staff. I just love coming to work.”
The Texans will return to Houston on Aug. 11 to continue training camp. Fans will need to have tickets to attend the four public workouts at the Methodist Training Center, which is across the street from NRG Stadium.
SIDE NOTE: Former University of Texas star and second-year running back D'Onta Foreman has been placed on the active/physically unable to perform list, after suffering a torn Achilles tendon on Nov. 19, 2017, against the Arizona Cardinals. There's no word if he'll be able to participate when the season starts.