"My hospital is just right over there and I always look down to the field and I'm like 'Yeah! Watson's practicing today.' So, it's really cool to finally be out here and it's really fun.” Make-A-Wish guest Ethan Hughes
The Texans practiced in full pads for a second consecutive day at the Houston Methodist Training Center. Some veterans did not participate, including J.J. Watt and Johnathan Joseph.
Deshaun Watson arrived to practice with Make-A-Wish guest Ethan Hughes, a local 17-year-old diagnosed with leukemia. Watson threw passes to the Cypress Creek High School student, including a touchdown that he followed up with a signature Watson arrow celebration. Hughes even joined Watson for his post-practice press conference.
"It's a blessing, just to be able to have a guy like himself to continue to work hard, never get discouraged, continue to push forward, and just to hear his story and see what he went through," Watson said. "My mom's situation, when she had tongue cancer, so I know exactly what he's going through, through the chemo and all of the radiation stuff."
The Texans practiced some high-pressure situations on Sunday. The first period consisted of the offense back up at the Houston one-yard line. Head coach Bill O'Brien gave each group six plays.
"They love to go," O'Brien said. "They love to compete with each other. So, if you feel that, sometimes as a head coach you just say, 'Hey, let's put the ball down and let's start playing,' and in that particular drill, the offense was at a disadvantage. They've got to try to chip away to get it out. But you've got to watch the reps, too.
Bradley Roby made a play for an interception in practice while Brieann Boddy-Calhoun added a few pass breakups.
In his second day back at practice, wide receiver DeAndre Carter made some nice catches. He was officially removed from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list on Saturday.
Several young players have impressed so far in camp and in the offseason. O'Brien mentions rookie offensive linemen Max Scarping and Titus Howard. Lonnie Johnson as well as Cullen Gillaspia.
"I think there's several guys that have worked hard to get better," O'Brien said. "I think (Cullen) Gillaspia works hard to get better, I think Lonnie Johnson has improved. I don't think it's perfect for either guy, but I think they're really working hard to get better. I think Tytus Howard and Max Scharping work hard to get better. You look at a guy like Max Scharping – he's in the building every day at 5:30, he's taking care of his body, he doesn't say a word, and Tytus Howard is the same way. That is what you're looking for."
Howard may not say much, but the rookie had to put his singing talent on display for the team.
"Haven't done the rookie skit yet, but I had to get in front of the team and sing 'Happy Birthday' and a song, because I didn't have a joke ready fast enough," Howard said. "So I sang 'Meant to Be' by Florida Georgia Line.
Defensive end Tracy Sprinkle (6-3, 285), picked up off waivers from the Cleveland Browns on Saturday, practiced. The first-year player out of Ohio State will be wearing No. 62.
Tight end Jordan Thomas appears to be getting closer to returning to practice. The second-year tight end was catching passes from Deshaun Watson on Sunday.
Players signed autographs after practice, but a Battle Red Watson jersey made an appearance in an unlikely place.
The Texans will next practice on Monday at the Houston Methodist Training Center. After a player's day off on Tuesday, the Texans will host the Detroit Lions for joint practices on Wednesday and Thursday.