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Texans HC Lovie Smith Not Concerned By Players Absence During OTAs

Coach Lovie Smith was not concerned by the absence of Houston Texans stars Maliek Collins and Laremy Tunsil during Day 1 of voluntary OTAs.

HOUSTON — The Houston Texans opened Day 1 of voluntary OTAs Tuesday morning at the Houston Methodist Training Center. 

The Texans had 95 percent of their players in attendance for practice, highlighted by veteran wide receiver Brandin Cooks and second-year quarterback Davis Mills.

Since the start of the offseason workout programs in April, the Texans have had significant attendance at NRG Stadium, and coach Lovie Smith credited the team's desire to bounce back from a 4-13 record during the 2021 campaign. But the Texans have yet to see defensive lineman Maliek Collins and left tackle Laremy Tunsil, who were absent.

Laremy Tunsil
Laremy Tunsil
Laremy Tunsil

"At Big Sandy, voluntary is voluntary," Smith said. "You can show up as you like, you don’t have to. I’d like for guys to be up here all day, staying with the coaches and putting in as many hours as we like, but they have some options. 

"Eventually, we’ll have everyone here. There’s one thing that’s mandatory in the offseason, and I expect everyone would be there unless we’ve come to an agreement and they have something that I want them to take care of, too.”

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The absence of Collins and Tunsil did not take Smith by surprise. Smith spoke to each player who did not attend the first day of OTA practice and had an agreement regarding their nonattendance.

After entering the off-season with his future uncertain with the franchise, Tunsil made amends with the Texans in March. He met with Smith and general manager Nick Caserio to clear the air about their relationship.

Maliek Collins
Maliek Collins

The two parties agreed to a restructured contract that lowered Tunsil's cap number to $17.7 million. And the two-time Pro Bowler will be one of 53 players representing Houston in 2022. According to Caserio, the franchise is now in a good place with Tunsil.

Collins revised his career during his first season with the Texans. He recorded 29 tackles and 2.5 sacks across 15 games. Collins agreed to a two-year deal worth $17 million with $8.5 million guaranteed at the start of free agency.

"We have some of our veteran players that I’m going to take some of their reps off a little bit," Smith said. "When you have as much competition as we have, you don’t have to tell guys to show up. They want every opportunity they can to show us who they are."