The Texans spoke to the media after Day 1 of organized team activities (OTAs) on Monday, with much of the conversation centered around the absence of wide receiver Andre Johnson.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak Texans general manager Rick Smith Texans LB Brian Cushing
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak(on WR Andre Johnson not being present for the start of OTAs) "It's voluntary. This is a voluntary offseason (program). Obviously, we want Andre here, and I know he and (Texans general manager) Rick (Smith) are talking, so we'll get it worked out. We're not worried about Andre. He'll do his job."
(on whether he was surprised that Johnson was absent) "No, I knew this morning."
(on what Johnson and the Texans have to work out between them) "I'm going to let Rick talk to y'all about that, okay?"
(on whether he's concerned about if Johnson will return) "Oh, I don't have any doubt."
(on when he thinks Johnson might rejoin the team) "I'm going to let Rick talk to y'all about that, but like I said, I'm not worried about Andre. Andre will do his job; he'll be ready to play. I want him here, but he'll do his job."
(on what he's expecting from LB Danny Clark) "Well, we're expecting him to work at SAM but we had some issues today, so he worked at MIKE. He worked everywhere. (LB) DeMeco (Ryans) didn't practice. (LB) Kevin Bentley didn't practice. So we had some squirming to do this morning to get to work. That's one good thing about having a veteran like that: he can play a lot of places. Danny looks good. He looks as good as when we had him, so we're encouraged to have him back."
(on if Clark can be a starter when LB Brian Cushing is out) "Danny's capable of starting. He's started in this league for a lot of people, not just us. So we'll see how it works out."
(on what he gets out of viewing tape of a bunch of guys running around in shorts) "You're just teaching right now. Basically, we teach the passing game one day. We come back the next day and teach a team concept. Right now you're trying to find out about all the young kids, get them caught up and take the offseason to catch them up with veterans so they can compete against them at the end of summer."
(on LB DeMeco Ryans' injury situation) "Hamstring. It's been bothering him since last Thursday. Probably could have practiced, but we had no reason to do that."
(on what he saw from LB Brian Cushing today) "He's all business, as I expected him to be. I know it's been a rough week, but it's nice to see him get back on the field and back playing football."
(on CB Kareem Jackson) "He looked good. I'll have to go back and watch the film, but he went right to work with the first group from day one. We have very high expectations for him. He'll have to earn his keep, and I don't have any doubt he'll do that."
(on if RB Ben Tate had an injury) "You know what, he had a problem with his hamstring Friday back home. Came in here, we're not comfortable with just turning him loose, so we'll evaluate him for a couple of days and go from there. He's going to miss a little time."
(on how RB Steve Slaton performed in practice) "He's looked good. He's had a good offseason. He's dropped a little weight, obviously. If we were hitting today, he would not be hitting. He hasn't been turned loose for that yet, but we should be able to get the whole offseason out of him. Steve will come back. This team needs him to come back bigtime."
(on what he tells the rookies on the first day of OTAs) "Just calm down. They're 100 miles an hour today and now they've got to through the Houston heat right off the get-go, so just calm them down and we'll work with them and try to watch them improve, really, is all you're trying to do."
(on TE Garrett Graham's performance at practice) "He was fine. He wore down like everybody else, but those are young guys. I walked in here this morning at about five o'clock and ten of them were sitting at their lockers already. Those guys are nervous, swimming, we all know what they're going through. They'll settle down. We'll know more about them over the course of the next month."
(on if LB Xavier Adibi is bigger this year than last season) "He's carrying about 242 (pounds), which that's nice. He hasn't been able to carry that in the past. (He was) working all over the place today. He's got a great opportunity to become a pro right now and earn a starting job and get his career to take off, so we'll see how it goes."
(on LB Kevin Bentley's injury status) "Back problems. Kevin hasn't missed a day. He's had some back spasms, so we held him out."
(on which rookies stood out the most) "Oh, I can't say. I don't know, we can go back and look. I'm getting to know them myself today."
Texans general manager Rick Smith
(on if he can address the situation with WR Andre Johnson) "First of all, he wasn't here today. That's a good start."
(on why he wasn't here) "I don't know. You're going to have to ask him that."
(on if Johnson's absence has to do with the restructuring of a contract) "Yeah, and I'm not real worried about that because we re-did him with two years left on his original deal, and that was three years ago. Over the first three years of that deal, I think if you even ask him, he's been well compensated. He's got five years left on his deal now. We're willing to sit down and talk with him, and he knows that."
(on if this is unusual with five years left on a contract) "It is. You're exactly right."
(on how concerned he is about getting something done) "Well again, I'm not real concerned about it because I think if you look at the history of what we just talked about with respect to opening up his initial deal early and the fact that he's been well compensated over the life of this deal yet and he still has five years left, I don't anticipate that (inaudible)."
(on how hard it is to talk about re-doing a contract with five years left on it) "It's very difficult. It is, because it's something that's not customary. It's not common. But again, we've got a relationship with him and he knows that we're willing to sit down and talk to him."
(on if team policy is that they don't do any contracts unless players are here) "Yeah, that's exactly right. We like to have guys, if you think back to DeMeco Ryans last year, I thought one of the things that was real smart on his part was the fact that he was upset that we had not been able to come to terms with an agreement, but he came back and he was a part of the offseason program. He was with his teammates, he was a leader, he did things the right way, he played his contract out and he was rewarded. So those are the type of situations and circumstances that we like, and all of our guys understand that."
(on if this is out of character for Johnson) "You know what, I'm not going to try to talk about Andre's character. Andre Johnson is hugely important to this organization and its success and our ability to go do what we want to do this fall. So I have no issues with Andre."
(on if Johnson told him that he would not be here today) "Conversations that I have with our players are ours, and I will never – you know me. I'm not going to negotiate in the media and talk about conversations or where we are with respect to anything like that."
(on if he's confident there will not be a holdout when training camp starts in July) "I can't answer that. I'm not in control of that."
(on if he has any idea how long this could go on) "I would be guessing, which I'm not going to do."
(on if it's upsetting that one of the leaders of the team is not here) "Well, you like to have all your people out here working, especially when we're trying to go do something we never have done. So the ideal situation is to have everybody working together, but as we talked about last week, you've got to be able to deal with distractions."
(on seeing LB Brian Cushing back out on the field) "I was happy to see them all. This is the first opportunity that we have to see our young guys as well as the veteran guys. It's my favorite day of the offseason, and so it was good to see them all."
(on TE Owen Daniels) "He was out here today working. He's doing a great job in his rehab, and I'm impressed the way he's worked this offseason. I think he's looking great."
(on the NFL's drug testing policy in light of Cushing's situation) "I think our testing program is solid. I have a lot of confidence in our program. This situation, it has its own unique set of circumstances, but I think overall, our testing policy is solid."
Texans LB Brian Cushing
(on being back out at practice) "This is what I do. This is what I'm going to be doing for a long time, so just to be out here and running around with the guys, there's nothing better than doing this."
(on the team's reaction to being back out on the field together) "Everyone's happy. Everyone understands the situation, so they're all behind me and this doesn't change anything. Just continue to go towards the Super Bowl."
(on what he thought about the public reaction to his news conference on May 13) "I really didn't pay too much attention to the reaction or anything. I felt that I got everything off my chest that I needed to and pretty much explained myself in every full detail, so I think that people can think what they want, but I think the truth is out there."
(on what it meant to him that Texans owner Bob McNair publicly supported him) "It meant everything to me because he's the highest guy possible in the building and just how he supported me and stood by me and just really trusted me showed me that he's behind me 100 percent."
(on whether he feels like he has to re-prove himself to anyone) "I'm just going to do what I do. It's not about re-proving or doing anything, it's just going out there and doing what I've been doing for the last 23 years. Nothing's going to change."
(on if there is anything, physically, that he's concerned about going into next season) "No, absolutely not. This is the best that I've felt in a while, so I'm going to be better than ever."
(on how relieved he felt to be back out on the field again) "Absolutely. Like I said, just to be out here with the guys, the camaraderie, just to run around, my mind is back on football. It's a really good feeling."
(on whether he expects to be able to help his replacement during his four-game suspension) "Sure. I think just giving back to them, giving experience, letting them know what to expect and all of those different kinds of things will really benefit them."
(on how much better he can be with a year of experience under his belt) "I think the sky's the limit right now. I think that it's out there for me to go grab and nothing's going to stop me from working towards that."
(on if the phrase "just moving forward" is accurate for him right now) "Yeah. I'm not going to be thinking about anything; I'm just going to be, like I said, just moving forward and just thinking about the next day and how to get better and progressing every single day."
(on if his health concerns are in the back of his mind) "Well, we'll get it figured out. That's not a done case. We'll keep moving forward and figure everything out."
(on if his health concerns have lingered for longer than just since he came into the NFL) "No, not that I've ever really know of any health concerns besides just two injuries in college. That was the biggest thing, but everything else seemed to be alright."