For A.J. Cann, the decision to sign with the Houston Texans as a free agent was a matter of timing. Cann had spent the entirety of his seven-year career with the Jacksonville Jaguars, including three seasons (2019-21) with OL Coach George Warhop. This offseason, both Warhop and Cann signed with the Texans.
"He (Warhop) is one of the reasons I stepped up to be here but there are a lot of people here that I know decently," Cann said Tuesday. "I felt like it was time to make a change and I felt like this would be a good change for me. I've been liking the vibe so far and I love what's going on. I love the situation right now."
Cann describes Warhop as "a very disciplined, a very detailed coach" who is the same every day with his players. Cann is also looking forward to playing for Lovie Smith, who reminds him of himself with his laidback, quiet exterior with "a little spark about him." In turn, Cann brings his own discipline and leadership to Houston.
"A.J. is another veteran presence that's done it at a high level," Smith said. "For him, comfort in his offensive line coach also being here. Everything I've seen from him, another pro. Every time we've opened up the building since he's been with us, he's been in the building. That says an awful lot."
Cann started four games last year at right guard for the Jaguars until a season-ending knee injury landed him on the Reserve/Injured list for the rest of his 2021 campaign. Until last year, he had started 94 of 95 games played for Jacksonville. Now healthy, Cann is happy to back on the practice field for OTAs, currently underway at the Houston Methodist Training Center.
"This was my first time being injured, having a surgical injury and missing a majority of the season," Cann said. "The first time since I was playing ball since I was six. It was a little different for me but I think it was something that gave me a lot to think about but now I'm feeling really good. I've been out there with the boys doing everything, involved in everything and I feel really good right now and can't wait to show what I can do."