HOUSTON -- Voluntary OTAs aren't required for veterans. That didn't stop Houston Texans receiver Brandin Cooks from being one of the first on the field at NRG Stadium's practice facility early Tuesday morning.
Cooks practiced for the first time this season after missing voluntary minicamp workouts in April. Although it might mean little to the public eye, it certainly is setting the tone among veterans in terms of what is expected by new coach Lovie Smith.
"I’m extremely excited to continue working with him," Texans quarterback Davis Mills said of Cooks last month. "He has a ton of talent and makes it really hard on defenses to game plan to go out there to stop him, so that’s the biggest thing first.
"He’s also a great leader for our team and for the younger guys in that room who are going to be catching passes, for Nico [Collins], for Brevin [Jordan]."
Cooks agreed to terms on a two-year extension worth $39.6 million, keeping him in Houston through the 2024 season. Rumors circulated that for the right price, the six-time 1,000-yard receiver could be moved, but it only reignited a conversation for general manager Nick Caserio to get a deal done with the team's No. 1 target.
Consistency has been Cooks' best attribute throughout his eight years in the league. Playing for four different teams, he's surpassed the 1,000-yard marker at least once on every roster.
Texans DE Jonathan Greenard: A Pro Bowl Future?
Jonathan Greenard might be the Texans best hope on defense
Texans TE Brevin Jordan Poised for Breakout Season?
Houston Texans’ tight end Brevin Jordan might just be in prime position to return the position to prominence for the upcoming season.
New Contract: Which Texans Standout Should Be Extended Next?
The Houston Texans could be looking to extend one of these three players before the start of the 2023 offseason.
Baker Mayfield Trade BREAKING: Texans Bad Rumor, Panthers New QB
"I’ve talked about him and our feeling on who our leader will be." - Lovie on Mills.
'Give & Take': QB Jeff Driskel Says Texans Working Toward Same Goal
Back at his true position of quarterback, Driskel is ready to be a part of the change in the Texans organization
Texans Trickle-Down: Is Houston to Blame for Deshaun Watson Deeds?
Seems plantiffs attorney Tony Buzbee has a high burden of proof to connect Houston's organization directly to Deshaun Watson's actions inside massage rooms.
Where Does Texans’ Lovie Smith Rank Among NFL Coaches?
Houston Texans’ head coach Lovie Smith’s place among his NFL peers has been set, according to a recent ranking from CBS Sports.
Backup QB Rankings: Kyle Allen 'Threat' to Davis Mills for Texans?
Allen is set to backup the Texans' young quarterback project this season
The level of quarterback play also has never been a concern. In New Orleans, Cooks shined for Drew Brees.
He later adapted to playing with Tom Brady in New England and Jared Goff in Los Angeles. And in the lone season he work with Watson, Cooks helped the Pro Bowl quarterback make team history.
In 2020, Watson led the NFL in passing yards (4,823) while also setting the Texans' single-season in passing touchdowns with 33.
"Brandin feels really good about being here," Smith said in April. "We talked about those other players wanting to be here, Brandin is another one that wanted to be here. He believes in that vision for our football team and what we can do. I’m excited to have him back.”
Several Texans were limited in practice Tuesday morning, including No. 3 pick Derek Stingley Jr. The former LSU defender is still recovering from a foot injury suffered during his final year in Baton Rouge. Defensive end Michael Dwumfour, linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill, and defensive Jon Greenard were limited as well.