The first Pro Bowl practice for DeAndre Hopkins was quite a contrast from a typical Texans practice back in Houston.
And not just because the tempo and physicality were more relaxed.
“Words can’t really describe it until you get out here,” the wide receiver said of Oahu’s North Shore. “You see the mountains and the ocean right beside it. Only place I’ve been like that was Cali, but this is on a whole different level.”
Hopkins and long snapper Jon Weeks are members of Team Irvin, and they took part in an hour’s worth of work on the grounds of The Turtle Bay Resort in Hawaii. They both had smiles on their faces throughout the morning.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Weeks said. “It was a good time to get out here and work with these guys. They’re some of the best at what they do. I’m really enjoying myself.”
Weeks worked with Baltimore punter Sam Koch and Dallas kicker Dan Bailey. Hopkins, meanwhile, was part of a receivers group that featured luminaries like Julio Jones, A.J. Green and Allen Robinson. While the atmosphere was far more tranquil than a normal football practice, Hopkins said he still used some of his time to sharpen his own game.
“I’m always picking guys brains and just out there looking to see what they do, and what I can do to better my game,” Hopkins said. “I’m not going to go out there and tell them, but I’m going to try to steal some of their moves. I’m always watching guys like Julio and A.J.”
His head coach this week is Michael Irvin. The Pro Football Hall of Famer was a tremendous wide receiver with the Dallas Cowboys, and is a huge fan of Hopkins.
“As a quarterback, all you have to do is throw the ball in the area code, and he can answer the phone,” Irvin said. “You don’t have to be perfect.”
Irvin also joked around with the Texans pass-catcher, in regards to his last name.
“I was just messing with ‘Hop,” Irvin explained. “I said ‘Man, did your mom prophetically name you HOP-kins? Because you’re hopping over everybody catching passes all the time.’”
The third-year pro, who finished with more than 1,500 receiving yards and a franchise record 11 touchdown catches, laughed along with Irvin and has enjoyed the rapport.
“That dude’s a character,” Hopkins said. “You gotta love it.”
Hopkins, Weeks and Team Irvin will take their team photo on Friday morning, and follow it up with another practice at Turtle Bay. A final Saturday practice in the same spot will precede Sunday’s Pro Bowl game at Aloha Stadium. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. CT.