How special was it for you to take part in the public service announcement video about the Texans voting initiative that you collaborated on with your team?
"I think the biggest takeaway from that is just the importance and understanding the role that we have and being able to shine light on it. We understand – I feel like voting is the most American thing that we can do. That's what makes us a democracy. Making sure that we're going through the necessary steps to get registered to vote, knowing the polls, knowing who's on the ballot, educating ourselves, knowing who's on the ballot. There's a lot of names you really need to study up and know what they believe in because these are the people that's representing you in the House and in the Senate. The sheriffs, the judges, everybody that's on that ballot, we need to know about it. I think it's huge for us to continue to push that out and make sure that everybody's checking their status. I just checked mine yesterday and I'm still not registered, so I'm continuing to work through that process and make sure that I'm registered by the time the election's here."
What is it like for you to see this team take care of a player like ILB Zach Cunningham and what is their message from your point of view?
"From my point of view is he's obviously played really well here through his career and you take care of your guys. You take care of your guys that you drafted, that you believed in and that produced. You take care of them upfront. I think it's a blessing for him. I talked to him a little bit about it and the importance and the opportunity that he now has to be able to change his family's life for generations to come. I think it's a blessing for him and I'm super glad for the organization."
Can you tell us the similarities between Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, Cowboys QB Dak Prescott and QB Deshaun Watson that make them great?
"I think they all have innate ability. You look at their ability alone, they're special. They're gifted athletes but then you mix in their ability to change plays at the line of scrimmage, to know what they want to get to all within a play clock, that's what makes really good quarterbacks special. I think after being able to work with D4 (Deshaun Watson) now for a few weeks, you see just how special he is, and I think he's going to continue to grow. I'm excited to be a part of his growth."
The president of the NFLPA, J.C. Tretter, is advocating for daily testing throughout the season and they also announced today that positive test rates remain extremely low. As a player, what are your thoughts on daily testing and is that something you would like to see throughout the season?
"As far as right now, I think we've had 100 percent negative which is really good. Things I think will – hopefully they don't, but as we begin to travel, as we begin to go to different cities we still will be in somewhat of a bubble when we get to the hotels and not being able to go to restaurants like we may have before. Obviously seeing people family, friends, family members in those cities won't be allowed, so hopefully we won't have to worry about that. I think as far as safety precautions go, knowing that we are getting tested and knowing that we are getting negative will make me a lot more comfortable being able to go home to my family. I think that hopefully we can get that done. I haven't paid attention to where we are with those conversations here more recently but hopefully we stay on track with that."
What are your thoughts on where QB Deshaun Watson and Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes stand in the pantheon of quarterbacks and what are your thoughts on playing against Chiefs S Tyrann Mathieu?
"I think obviously you look at these two young guys, obviously Mahomes coming off a Super Bowl win and Deshaun, his career seeing how well he's played these last couple years; they're next generation. I started my career in Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers and I didn't think anybody would ever touch the level of play that he was playing at through a few years that I was there with him. Obviously, he was coming off a Super Bowl win there as well. Now you've got two guys that are playing at an extremely high level and I'm excited to see their futures continue to grow. I'm very excited about Deshaun. Being able to work with him over these past few weeks, he's special. I think it's something different about him that I look forward to seeing on gameday and being a part of that on gameday. Tyrann Mathieu, I've always had a lot of respect for him. I've always loved watching his game dating back to college and I think this will be the first time I get to match up against him. The few games that we played when he was in Arizona and I was in Green Bay, I think one of us was hurt in each of those situations. I think this will be the first time we actually get to match up, so I look forward to that. He's a great competitor. What he brings to the game is special and he loves fun and he loves doing what he does. I look forward to the match up."
What do you think changes about the locker room dynamic when a quarterback has won a Super Bowl? Do you think it changes how the guys view the quarterback?
"I think you talk about perception with that. Obviously the perception is one thing but I think the consensus is how does that person come to work every day, how does he get better, what kind of teammate he is, what kind of leader he is. Those are the things I think that guys respect more. Just because you win a Super Bowl, obviously that's an amazing achievement but it's how do you come back from that, how do you continue to work and push forward and continue to get better and push yourself and your teammates to be the best they can be. I got to see that in Green Bay and we're chasing that here. I think that we have the pieces. It's now going out on the field and putting it all together."
What are your thoughts on NRG Park being a polling location and election headquarters for the 2020 election? How does that work into what you and your teammates discussed last week after the scrimmage with making a change in the social justice initiatives?
"I really think that's huge having the arena open up for that large amount of people being able to have easier access. I think the flow obviously with the space alone that you have in the arena along with the parking, I think it'll make the process a lot easier. Some of our leadership meetings that we've had here more recently where we're trying to find ways we can get actively involved in being at some of the poll sites. We're still trying to figure out a way that we can be there, especially at this time. It makes it a little more difficult, obviously, with COVID-19. We have a lot of restrictions, but we also want to be there because there's a lot of people that volunteer at these polls that the numbers are going to be down because not many people are going to be volunteering. We're trying to find a way that we can advocate and help lend our own hands and bodies at these poll sites. We're still working through that and hopefully we can come up with something by that time."
As far as the team's discussion about social justice issues and trying to combat racism and all the things the rest of the players are passionate about, what is the effort in terms of getting in touch with owners? What is the challenge with that and what is the message to ownership in terms of them helping what you want to accomplish?
"I think the challenge is we know and understand that we're football players. We're paid to do a job. We're paid to go on the field and play. We know we have somewhat of a voice to be able to get ourselves in some rooms but as an owner of a multi-billion dollar industry, they have a little more access than us as players to be able to get in front of people and use their voice to take a stand for our lives. Obviously when you look at different organizations, a lot of the executive boards, the people that are the top dogs at these organizations, there's not many people that look like me that can advocate for me the way that I could. I think being able to get them to understand that, being able to set up committees that bring in different voices to help with the understanding – it's hard for me. This whole process has been hard for me. I was talking to my wife about this the other day. It's hard for me to understand the why. How we can watch a video – the same video – and have such polarized differences in the belief of a man getting shot in his back seven times or a man having a knee on his throat for eight minutes and 46 seconds. This isn't a new thing. This is things that we've traumatically envisioned of ourselves, of our brothers, of our uncles, of our fathers. It's not a new thing. These are stories that we've been told. Now we're seeing it on video over and over and over again. It's hard for me to understand the why. Why does somebody feel the way they do about somebody that looks like me? Like, what is the reason? I really want to have those conversations and it be an educational understanding of why you feel that way towards someone who looks like me. It really has taken over my mind over these past two weeks. Whenever I'm not in football, whenever I'm not with my kids, when I really am by myself driving in the car from the facility to the house or in the shower, it really captivates my mind to understand the why because I really want to know and understand. If I can ever get to a point where I can understand then maybe I can accept it, but it's hard for me to accept it and move on. People are dying. I know people die of a lot of different causes, but there shouldn't be a cause when somebody that's supposed to protect you is killing you. That makes it difficult."
How have glasses enhanced your life and has it helped your football game?
"I've been wearing contacts in practice and in games for the past couple of years for football. I actually had to change my prescription here recently. I hadn't had it updated in two years, so that's part of a problem in itself. But the last time I went to the doctor, I just realized now that I wear glasses that my vision was a lot worse than I wanted to believe. That's that pride I was holding on to, but I finally let go of that pride and now they call me four eyes, so we're good."
After playing quarterback in college, how intricate are you able to get with the quarterbacks since you know how they see things? Also, what would you tell college players who may miss out on the season due to COVID-19?
"With the first question, I think my quarterback play is something that really helped me over my career. Being able to talk and speak like a quarterback, understanding the coverages that come with certain fronts, being able to understand the holes in the defense, being able to understand the progression of a quarterback on certain plays. Knowing that as a receiver, knowing that the timing may be a little different on one route than the same route in a different play series just based off of the progression of the quarterback. Being able to have those conversations I think helps the chemistry grow. I miss playing quarterback, but this arm's a little rusty these days. I think I made the right move. With the college players, I feel like they're in a really, really tough spot along with the rookies here in the league. I think they're in a really, really tough spot. Not having preseason games really hurts them because some players you can see stuff in practice, but once you get to a game and the lights come on, some people step up and make plays and some shy away that maybe were making a lot of plays in practice. I think it's really difficult to be able to scout those guys in this environment. With the college players, they don't have a union. They don't have anybody that's looking out for them. I can't imagine being in that situation right now. What they're feeling, what they're going through with the decision, especially when there are universities that are not allowing students on campus but the players are there still. It's like a catch-22 because they're probably safer being on campus than in some of the neighborhoods and being involved with a lot of things that could come up in their neighborhoods if they weren't at school. It's a difficult situation and I don't have any answers for that. I don't know how to best combat it. Really, just at this point trying to take it a day at a time and trying to figure it out and make the best decision that you can with the knowledge that you've got."
Should veteran players like you play a role in making sure young players continue to follow COVID protocols or should that be up to the coaches?
"We're grown men. We're grown men out here. We can give advice. We can say what you should and shouldn't do. Coaches can give advice and say what you should or shouldn't do. But at the end of the day, people are going to go home and are going to make the decisions that they make. You can't control that as best as you try. You try to give them all of the facts and let them understand the impact that they make will affect not only them but the ones around them, and hopefully they make the right decision. That's all you can do. That's as far as our voice goes. At the end of the day, man to man, we've got to make the decisions that are best for ourselves, our families and for our team. Hopefully we're all continuing to do that throughout the season."