Hopkins Preps For First Season In Arizona

Travis Boland

DeAndre Hopkins said he wasn't surprised when the Houston Texans made the decision to send the Pro Bowl receiver to Arizona in March. 

In seven years with Houston, Hopkins caught 632 passes for over 8,000 yards and 54 touchdowns.

"I heard rumors of a potential trade going back to last year," Hopkins said during an interview in April with members of the Arizona media. "I was prepared for the trade and knew Arizona was on the radar."

Hopkins said he heard the news while working out with Atlanta receiver Julio Jones in Los Angeles. He said he is excited about what Arizona is building with quarterback Kyler Murray.

Murray was named the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year after throwing for 3,722 yards and 20 touchdowns and rushing for 544 yards and four scores. Hopkins said he has watched a number of Murray's highlights online and sees similarities between the second-year player and former quarterback DeShaun Watson.

"Both guys are able to get out of situations with their feet, but keep their heads up looking downfield looking to make plays," Hopkins said. "Both have really strong arms."

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a shift in the NFL offseason schedule. Hopkins said he has been in communication with Murray in hopes of adjusting to a new offense.

"We're all professionals, so getting used to a new offense shouldn't be a problem," Hopkins said. "I think it will be a smooth transition."

After hiring a new trainer last year, Hopkins said he has stayed with his usual offseason workout plan, but has added up-tempo exercises to prepare for Arizona's no-huddle offense. In his seven seasons, Hopkins has missed just one game.

"I take a lot of pride in staying durable," Hopkins said. "There were games where I could have sat out, but if I'm out there at 50 or 100 percent, guys will see someone tough that will fight for them."

Hopkins has already endeared himself to fans in Arizona. Shortly after the trade was finalized, Hopkins donated $150,000 to the Arizona Coronavirus Relief Fund.

"It's always been a mission of mine and my family to give back to the community that is supporting us," Hopkins said. "I learned at a young age about giving back. I saw (former teammate) Andre Johnson being a presence in the Houston community. He was a true leader and motivator."

Hopkins also works with his mother, Sabrina Greenlee, to help women affected by domestic violence. The nonprofit organization, S.M.O.O.O.T.H. is led by Greenlee, who was blinded in an assault when Hopkins was 12.

On the field, Hopkins said he holds himself to a high standard and expects his teammates to match his level. 

"I am overwhelmed by the welcome in Arizona," Hopkins said. "The guys in the locker room have a lot of respect. It's a young locker room and they are hungry to win. My expectation is to win a championship, I don't think anyone plays to not win the championship."