When Duane Brown first found out that the Texans were practicing in Richmond, he picked up the phone and told his family. Getting to play professional football and work in his hometown was a "surreal" opportunity for the Texans starting left tackle.
"I hugged my mother. My daughter is here, I get to see her," Brown said Thursday. "It's an amazing feeling, and I'm very, very excited to, outside of that, to be able to come here and get some good work in against Washington in front of them, in front of my family."
Brown's family attended every practice and game since the age of six, when he started playing football. While he visits Richmond often, this trip felt different. During the bus ride on Highway 64 from the airport, he pointed out landmarks and places from his past to his teammates and shared stories about the area.
It was a full circle moment for Brown, now the longest-tenured Texan on the roster. He's accomplished a lot since his days playing for the Hermitage High School Panthers in Richmond. He's become an All-Pro, a three-time Pro Bowler, and one of the veteran leaders of the team.
"One thing about Duane Brown that really makes me proud to be associated with him is that he came into this offseason and he played well last year," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "He was a Pro Bowl player, but I think he knows that he can play better. He has high standards for himself. He came back in OTAs and then early in training camp in great shape. He's having a really good training camp. He's one of our dominate performers out there and just a great guy to coach. Tough, out there every day and really knows our system and just fun guy to be around."