HOUSTON — Headlined by the nasty departure of quarterback Deshaun Watson in March, the Houston Texans have lost over a dozen of their premiere athletes since the end of the 2019 campaign.
Losing top-tier talent had become a consistent pattern for the Texans. But over the off-season, veteran wide receiver Brandin Cooks broke the curse.
“I believe in everything Nick Caserio is doing," Cooks said following training camp practice on Friday. "I have some history with him and I believe in everything that he's doing. I want to be a part of that, and Coach Lovie [Smith].”
Instead of adding his name to the wide receiver carousel that had taken place during the spring, Cooks signed a two-year contract extension — ensuring his commitment to the Texans long-term.
Before his extension, The Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers and New York Jets had reached out to the Texans to inquire about Cooks, per Yahoo Sports.
It was intriguing when Cooks prolonged his career in Houston.
The Texans have transitioned since the franchise landed his talents in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams in March of 2020. And since his arrival, Cooks has only seen the Texans win eight out of a possible 33 games.
But ahead of his third season, Cooks believes the franchise is "up to something." The camaraderie he has built with the wide receiver corps and second-year quarterback Davis Mills is a significant reason behind his optimism for 2022.
Cooks helped orchestrate a team bonding trip to Oregon a week before the start of training camp. Teammates in attendance joined Cooks in an AirBnB on the lake, where they studied the new offensive playbook. Other team bonding activities included paddleboarding and swimming.
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"Brandin is a great guy," wideout Jalen Camp said. "He has the most impact on me with the things that he does on the daily basis. He doesn't say too much. But when he does speak, it's always motivational and impactful. We are glad to have a guy like that in our room who can lead us."
Cooks has been the model of consistency and the lone reliable pass catcher for Houston over the previous two seasons. He has notched 2,187 yards on 171 catches and a dozen touchdowns with the Texans.
But, in 2022, Cooks will have help carrying the burden of Houston's wide receiver corps, given the development of second-year prospect Nico Collins.
The Texans are entering the season with another year of modest expectations. But Cooks believes the Texans will justify his decision to remain in Houston by the end of the 2022 campaign.
"The biggest expectation is just a team that sticks together and come to work every day and doing the little things right," he said. "We just going to show up and we let that take care of itself. We’re not going to make any predictions from that standpoint, but just a team that sticks together."
At the end of his first season in Houston, Cooks was adamant that he would not accept any trades as he yearned for stability. Nearly three years since his statement, Cooks has remained a man of his word.
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