Williams' opening press conference

**Owner Bob McNair

(opening statement) **"Good evening. We're delighted to have Mario with us. A number of people have asked the question, 'How did you go about making this decision?' I think the simple explanation is that the decision that we had to make was similar to the decision that the Indianapolis Colts had to make. They had two free agents—or players that were going to become free agents—in Edgerrin James and Dwight Freeney, their defensive end and pass rusher. They could only sign one of the two. They had to make a decision as to which player was more valuable to their team. They signed Freeney.

"We were in the same position. We did our evaluation; we had to decide who would add the most value to our team: a player like Mario on defense, or a player like Reggie Bush on offense. We made the same decision the Colts did. The pass rush was extremely important to us; we've gone four years and we've not had an effective pass rush. We've said that we had to improve our offensive line and we had to improve our pass rush. We have Mike Sherman in working on our offensive line and we brought in Flanagan, also.

"I think we're going to see some big improvements. We're going to continue to try to draft some linemen today, and then on the defensive side, we've added somebody who's a real threat. You don't know Mario, but you'll get to know him, and you're going to know him with great pleasure because he's going to add a new dimension to our team.

"We have Richard Smith, our defensive coordinator, down here to talk to you for just a moment and then you'll hear from Mario."

**Defensive coordinator Richard Smith

(opening statement)** "Today's a very important day here for us. We're extremely excited. In our opinion, we got the best player in the draft on the defense side of the ball. When you look at it from an organizational standpoint, you just look at the championship teams in the last few years—and I'm talking about the Pittsburgh Steelers. When you think of Pittsburgh, what do you think? You don't think about their offense. You think about their defense. When you talk about the New England Patriots, or who's the running back for the New England Patriots, you know the quarterback is a guy named Brady, but you know what they're known for is their defense.

"You win football games on defense, and we're excited and really appreciative from a defensive standpoint—not just myself, but the whole defensive staff is really appreciative that this organization picked two defensive football players in the first two rounds. A guy like Mario, I've been in the league 18 years now, is by far one of the finer athletes at his position that I have seen. When you have the number one pick in the NFL draft—and I'm not talking about the 16 th pick, I'm talking about the first pick in the draft—you can't have any doubts; there can't be any questions. In our mind, there weren't any questions about this young man. He has the size, he has the speed, and he has the athletic ability. The other thing besides that is that this guy's an outstanding human being. There are no flaws in this guy's ability as a player or a person. Trust me; he's young, he's big, he's got big upside. As a coach, you don't want to look at a player and say, 'Wow he's maxed out. Can I get him any better?' Well, we can improve Mario—trust me on that one—and he's going to be a very productive player.

"You folks will appreciate him when he starts hitting quarterbacks, and that's how you win in this game. It's a passing game, and you need to create pressure on the quarterback. With him, it really upgrades our defensive team speed, and we're very excited to have him."

*Defensive end Mario Williams *

(opening statement) "First off, I'd like to say it's an honor to be here today. I thank God for every opportunity to be a Texan right now, and to be in front of you all, and just being in Houston. Like he was saying about the defense, you know it's very important. You have to build a team around the defense. I'm just excited to fill that position. It's just an honor to be here."

(on what he was doing when he found out he was going to be the first pick in the draft)"I was at a hospital with some young kids with different types of disabilities, getting involved in the community in New York. That's where I found out I was the number one pick. I was overwhelmed and just so excited."

(on whether he was surprised that he was the number one pick in the draft)"I'm not really that surprised. I knew I had a great chance. I just kept in contact with the Texans. I knew it was a possibility. When I finally got the call saying I was the number one pick for the Texans, you know, I can't even explain it; I was so excited."

(on facing the expectations from fans and the media that come with being the first pick)"Oh most definitely, but at the same time, I don't have any pressure. I play football and I do what I do. I have faith in the coaches and they have faith in me. The sky's the limit. I'm a unique player, and I am going to come in and have an impact."

(on his personality on the football field) "When I hit the field, it's always running. I'm enthused and I have a lot of energy and excitement. I'm going to let the other players feed off of that, and we are going to win some ballgames here."

(on when he realized he had a chance to be the number one pick) "Really, after I signed the contract and realized that I had an opportunity to do it. Once I signed the contract and knew it was legit, and signed the paperwork, I was overwhelmed. I'm excited to be a Texan and about the opportunity to be here. I want to go to the playoffs and the Super Bowl and things like that."

(on dealing with the pressure of being a defensive player taken first overall) "I'm here to play football. You can't let the pressure break you. Being around a great coaching staff, I know everyone will help me out. I'll learn my role, get the hang of things and learn how to be a pro—learn how to be a Texan."

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