What does it mean to be the highest paid offensive lineman in NFL history, and what was it like being on point for the negotiations?
"It's a blessing just to be the highest paid offensive lineman. You always dream of times like this, and we got it done. Especially not having an agent, doing the deal by yourself and getting it done is extremely a blessing. The second part, the negotiation – with any negotiation, it was pretty tough. They came at me in February trying to give me an extension and we just got a deal done a couple of days ago. It was tough, but we got it done and it was fun just to be in that moment and to learn different things."
Did you get advice from any other players who had done deals on their own, and how tough was it when you decided to do it on your own? Also, do you think you'll start a trend of other players handling their own deals?
"I think I for sure started a trend by not having an agent and doing my deal on my own. The players that I talked to, for instance like Bobby Wagner, he actually told me that it was pretty easy doing a deal by yourself and the toughest part about doing a deal on your own was just the terminology – not knowing the terminology and just learning the terminology and being able to voice it to the coaches."
With everything you've been through what does it mean to you to have this deal and to be with the Texans for a long time?
"It's a huge blessing, definitely coming from what happened on draft night and to be here now. They tried to bury me, and I overcame that and I'm here now. To all those people who are actually going through adversity, never quit."
What was it like negotiating with Head Coach and General Manager Bill O'Brien, and how much did your advisors help you in the negotiations?
"A huge shout out to the advisors that actually helped me through this process. I learned so much from those guys, and just to be able to go back to the coaches and actually explain to them what I want and what this looks like, like I said, it was a huge blessing. Just to be in this position and negotiate with Billy-O – that's what I call him – it was actually fun. Him and Jack (Easterby) knew exactly what they wanted and they were being honest, and so was I, and so was me and my team, and we got the deal done."
How much have you talked with QB Deshaun Watson about his deal that he's looking to get done and about all of the other moves the Texans have made?
"Currently I'm actually working out with D4 (Deshaun Watson) right now four days a week, and we actually talk almost every day. We basically just tell each other, 'Man, let's go get it, let's get it done. We have the tools right in front of us on this team and we can get it done, it just starts with us.' We pretty much voice our opinions every day about the team we have."
What are your thoughts on Head Coach and General Manager Bill O'Brien stating that you will be even better this year now that you are more comfortable?
"I 100% agree with that statement. The main thing with me last year was the playbook. I came at a late time, only had a couple of days to prepare for the game. But just to have that whole season, then this offseason under my belt, I think it's going to help me with this playbook and my relationship with the players, and us being on the same page. I think that's going to help a lot."
What gave you the confidence to negotiate your contract without an agent?
"I felt like it was time to write my own destiny, if that makes sense, to put things in my own hands and to get it done. You just have to bet on yourself, and that's what I did and I got the deal done. I'm extremely proud of myself and the team. I'm still speechless. Even though it was a couple of days ago that they made the announcement, I'm still speechless."
How important was it for you to reset the market for offensive lineman deals?
"I think that was one of my biggest things. I just wanted to reset the market, become the highest paid offensive lineman just to show all the young players under me that anything is possible, you've just got to put your head towards it."
Can you tell us about your involvement with the COVID-19 relief efforts and how your shoulder rehab is coming along?
"I'm for sure going to start with the shoulder rehab. It's going good. I have my trainer down here and we actually hit rehab almost every day, so that's a plus. I just want to use my platform to give back as much as I can, and hopefully spark the minds of other people to give back in critical times like this. So, that was my biggest thing."
Why did you decide that a three-year contract was the right length?
"Just to give me another opportunity to get into the market. I just felt like three years was better than four, just to give me another opportunity to get in the free market and just to go from there. I'll get to free agency around 28, 29, so I feel like that was the best opportunity for me."
What did you think about the WR DeAndre Hopkins trade and the new guys that are coming in?
"I'm extremely excited that the guys we've got coming in, they're all playmakers and I can't wait to work with them. We were all hurt from the Hop trade, especially because that was one of the guys that actually brought me under his wing when I came in. I was hurt, but that's just a part of the business that we currently work in and you really can't do much about it."
What are some things that you hope to do with this kind of life-changing contract?
"My biggest thing for me was just to have my kids' kids be set for life, and I think we did that. We're not done yet. We've got a lot of football ahead of us, in my opinion. I already achieved one goal and just keep moving."
Can you share some of the comments you received from friends and family about your contract deal?
"I can say everybody was shocked that I did a deal like that by myself. I don't why everybody was shocked but I was getting a lot of positive things from my teammates and the players around the league. Hopefully, like I said, that will spark the minds of somebody else that they can do the deal on their own and not have an agent."
Were you open to extension when you first came from Miami to Houston?
"That's a great question because an extension wasn't really on my mind. I was just in shock that I got traded from Miami to Houston and then I had play in the game in a couple of days. So, an extension wasn't really on my mind. I'm glad we got it done with the Texans. I'm glad to be a Texan for the next three or four years, and excited to be in this position."