The Texans scrimmaged on Thursday evening at NRG Stadium, but did so with much thought beforehand.
On the football side, sure, there were gameplans the offense, defense and special teams units wanted to implement. General manager and head coach Bill O'Brien wanted communication between coaches and players to be crisp. In two weeks, Houston squares off in a regular season matchup at Kansas City to begin 2020.
But in light of the NBA and NHL playoff game postponements, along with some MLB contests, and a handful of NFL squads choosing not to scrimmage or practice on Thursday, the Texans had extra issues to consider.
"We spoke about it," O'Brien said Thursday evening after the scrimmage. "We talked a lot about that this morning with a group of players. A group of players felt like at the end of the day it was important to get this in tonight and keep building as a team and then also have the discussion about what to do relative to, like I've said, trying to put some action into place that they think is good and rewarding."
Since June, O'Brien and the organization have sought to take action in the fight against systemic racism and the promotion of social justice. The events in Kenosha, Wisconsin earlier in the week spurred counterparts in other sports, as well as in the NFL, to take a timeout on the games. Those issues remain prominent on the minds of most, if not all Texans.
"We have a lot of guys that are very thoughtful, a lot of guys that have a lot of empathy, that care about the country, that care about a lot of things other than football," O'Brien said. "But they also are very focused on being as good of a football player as they can be. I think we got a lot accomplished today. I thought it was a good day for our team."
After the scrimmage, a handful of Texans, including receiver Kenny Stills, safety Michael Thomas, defensive end J.J. Watt and quarterback Deshaun Watson spoke to the team.
O'Brien and the coaches let the players have their time together, and emphasized the importance of empathy.
"We have a lot of empathy on this team," O'Brien said. "I think that's a big word. I think for all of us, if we can just really figure out what's the best way to implement action and try to create change and do it in the right way and understand that we're all equal and that we need to come together."