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Houston Texans

Winston hangs with Chesney


Eric Winston was born and raised on country music in his hometown of Midland. He grew up going to small-venue concerts and listening to Texas originals croon under a starry sky.

Now that the right tackle has become a starter for the Texans, he is getting to see and meet some of the biggest stars in country music. On Saturday, Winston was in Chicago hanging out with Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban and LeAnn Rimes, along with Luke Bryan and Gary Allan, before each took the stage in Chesney's "Poets and Pirates Tour."

"This is my first Kenny Chesney concert, but it's not my first country music concert," Winston said. "I've been a big fan of country music and his music. This is great just being a part of a concert like this with five great country music artists that get together and have a lot of fun, obviously, and put on a great show in so many stadiums and so many places around the country."

{QUOTE}This summer, Chesney's tour is hitting 12 NFL stadiums, including Houston's Reliant Stadium on Saturday, August 16. The show, which features eight hours of live music, will be the biggest concert event in the history of Reliant.

"This is our fourth year doing the stadium shows and it's kind of gotten bigger and bigger every year," Chesney said. "We played a couple of nights in Houston last year and Houston has always been a great town for us to come play no matter what venue we are playing, but it's exciting to come to the Houston Texans' stadium. It's hard to believe when you get up there in front of that many people – the energy just hits your right in the chest."

Getting hit in the chest was something that resonated with Winston, who talked to Chesney at length before the show began at Soldier Field. In fact, the massive right tackle and the most popular tour act in country music found they easily could relate to each other's lifestyle.

"I think there is a lot in common as far as that goes - how much work we put in and how much work I'm sure he (Chesney) puts into this," Winston said. "You can't become this big or be this good just by going out there. You can have all the time in the world, but you have to put the work in and get it done. I think that is the big bond that a lot of athletes have with performers like Kenny. I think we both know how much we both put into our sports. I think that's what links us all up a lot of times."

Aside from living on the road and playing in packed stadiums, Chesney, like Winston, goes through rigorous physical training. The performer also loves the game of football.

"I remember as a kid, I always loved Bob Griese and the Dolphins and I'm friends with his son now, Brian," Chesney said. "I've got a lot of friends of mine that have played pro football. There's kind of a commonality with pro players and guys that do what I do because we both want to do what the other is doing."

Winston was a testament to that. The offensive lineman couldn't hide his excitement during the concert when he was standing offstage with high-profile fans like Nick Swisher of the White Sox and the Cubs' Jim Edmonds, all of whom danced along to Chesney hits like "Summertime," "No Shirt (No Shoes, No Problem)" and "When the Sun Goes Down."

"Kenny was awesome," Winston said. "It really was one of the best shows I've been to. There is day-long tailgating and then five awesome acts. Nothing beats that."

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