The Texans love Mexico, and many in Mexico are loving them right back this week.
On Wednesday, a group of Texans began an outreach journey to Monterrey and Mexico City. Defensive Lineman Ross Blacklock and Linebacker Garret Wallow, along with TORO, and Rose and Jessica from the Houston Texans Cheerleaders spent a day-and-a-half in the northern Mexican city before heading south to the capital on Thursday.
The group visited with stars from the soccer powerhouse Tigres UANL, took part in a football and cheer clinic with youngsters, and also spent time with fans and visiting some of the more notable sights in the area. The trip south to Mexico City held more of the same, as another camp ensued, along with a visit to Azteca Stadium to mingle with a contingent from the soccer team Club America.
Both young defenders were excited to go on the trip south of the border, and learned quite a bit.
"This experience has been really fun," Blacklock said. "A really eye-opening experience. To be able to be out here with our fans from Mexico, getting all the love and support from another country, getting to know their culture, I'm excited to keep learning and I'm excited to be here."
The Texans played the Raiders on Monday Night Football in November of 2016. Before and after contest, the franchise has gone on outreach trips to Mexico. More are planned for the future, and for Wallow, "getting to know" the fans has been the favorite part of the excursion.
"This experience has been eye-opening from the moment we got here," Wallow said. "We've met a lot of great fans. A lot of fans that I don't even think we knew we had. We've built a lot of good connections with them. Their energy has been very high. Very supportive. Very loving and with open arms. It's been good to come here and give back to them and learn from them and have them learn a little from us."
In their interactions with those fans, as well as with their numerous encounters with the Mexican media, the love for the Battle Red Helmet announcement has been a topic of conversation. It was brought up multiple times during Wednesday's clinic at Gaspar Mass Satdium. 200 children were decked out in Deep Steel Blue "We Are Texans" t-shirts, and went through a variety of drills. Additionally, over 50 girls learned dance moves from Rose and Jessica. They swarmed the players and cheerleaders after the clinic, and made a big impression on Blacklock.
"There's a lot of energy everywhere we go," Blacklock said. "The kids were about to run me and Wallow over the other day! But that's what it's all about: be able to have an impact on those kids and have an impact on this country and these people, it shows how much football can bring people together."
The Texans conclude their journey on Saturday afternoon, and look forward to returning to the Mexico again in the future.