Whitney Mercilus signed a contract extension on Saturday. He was the last player introduced to the NRG Stadium crowd prior to Sunday's contest against the Titans.
After the season finale, the outside linebacker discussed how "cool" it was to know he'd be a Texan for the foreseeable future.
"Gives me a peace of mind to just go out there and go play," Mercilus said. "I'm very happy about it. The franchise believes in me and I'm very thankful for that."
He just completed year eight in the NFL, and the Texans' first round pick in 2012 played a bit in the first half against Tennessee. Like many starters, he watched most of the game from the sidelines. Ultimately, Houston "came up with a good deal for me to stay here long term", according to Mercilus.
With a team-high 7.5 sacks and nine tackles for loss in 2019, Mercilus has been an integral part of the squad this season and in years past. Keeping him in the fold was a priority for head coach Bill O'Brien and the Texans.
"It's always a good thing when you have guys in your locker room that are smart, tough, and dependable, and they get rewarded for that," O'Brien said.
The Texans also rewarded Bryan Anger with a contract extension on Saturday. This came after a 2019 in which the punter saw 24 of his 45 punts downed inside the opponents' 20-yard line. Anger punted five times on Sunday against the Titans, with a net of 47.8 yards. He too, was glad to know he'll be back in Houston next season. Anger was also quick to point out the stellar play of the punt coverage units.
"I just had a good year, and that's really all I can do," Anger said. "The special teams as a whole have been amazing. Our coverage units are awesome, A.J. (Moore), Keion (Crossen) and Taiwan (Jones) are just killing it. Fortunate to have those guys help me, but yeah just a good year."
For O'Brien, having Mercilus and Anger under contract is just the start.
"One of the things we're trying to do is try to get some guys done before free agency starts," O'Brien said. "And there's a number of guys that we think are guys that have futures with us, and those are two examples, and it was good to get something done."
The Texans host the Buffalo Bills next weekend in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
Houston Texans take on the Tennessee Titans at NRG Stadium for Week 17 of the 2019 NFL season.