Cecil Shorts III: DeAndre Hopkins Was 'Outstanding' In Texans' Locker Room

No one has a bad thing to say about D-Hop

Brandon Scott
March 19, 2020 - 2:06 am

(SportsRadio 610) -- DeAndre Hopkins is revered in the Texans locker room and around the league. 

Bill O'Brien is known to covet "tough, smart and dependable" players, regardless if their stars like this one. 

Hopkins is one of those players.

His teammates seemed bewildered to find out he was traded earlier this week to the Arizona Cardinals for running back David Johnson, a second-round pick and a fourth-round swap. 

No one has a bad thing to say about Hopkins.

Not until Michael Irvin told a national audience about the time head coach Bill O'Brien supposedly compared Hopkins to Aaron Hernandez during a meeting in which he also chided him for the presence of his children's mothers.

The purpose of this meeting, according to Irvin's account of his own conversation with Hopkins, was to clear the air from a power struggle related to Hopkins' influence in the locker room.

As Clint Stoerner mentioned Wednesday, it's odd that a coach would be concerned about a player's influence in the locker room.

That's especially true if the players themselves view the influence to be positive.

Cecil Shorts III was Hopkins' teammate with the Texans in 2015. 

He joined Clint to discuss what Hopkins was like as a teammate.

Shorts said his own relationship with O'Brien was professional without issues. Shorts said he never witnessed a blow-up between O'Brien and Hopkins, though the coach did feud with other players on the team.

The Houston Chronicle cited a source who said the team had no issue with Hopkins' personal relationships, but there was friction between the receiver and head coach. 

Shorts on Wednesday said Hopkins never had off-field issues that affected the locker room. 

"Talk about a professional. He's a guy that's loved by his players," Shorts said. "We talked about any and everything in that locker room. When he got on the practice field, he was one of the hardest working guys on the field. Couldn't be stopped, no matter what he did. He was that guy. He worked hard. He was big on communication. He was big on timing. He's just a good guy, man.  

"When I heard the (Irvin) comments about (the influence in the locker room), that's beyond me, because the influence he had was nothing but incredible from when I was there. It was outstanding."

Listen for more with Shorts here

Opposing coaches tout Hopkins for his reliable hands and physicality. He's a coverage dictator and matchup nightmare. 

"I think every ball he thinks is his, and he catches everything," Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians told reporters before his team hosted the Texans last December. "You can have him covered, Deshaun (Watson) is going to throw it and he's going to catch it because he's a physical guy, he knows how to get open and I just love the way he plays the game."

Bills coach said Sean McDermott said Hopkins is basically the definition of his position. 

When asked what part of his skill set stands out on tape, McDermott said, "Really all of it. When you when you look up the word ‘receiver’ in the dictionary – I mean, he's got unbelievable hands, unbelievable work with the quarterback, understands the game. He's, like I said, similar to J.J. Watt, to Deshaun Watson, all really good players."

Watt reacted to the Hopkins trade news by repurposing a tweet he sent March 11, the night Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the first known professional athlete in America to test positive for the coronavirus and the NBA shut down. 

Watt's point: It's wild to consider trading DeAndre Hopkins.

Watson started his response to the trade with "Man this is crazy!"

Another dispute stems from Hopkins' contract, which has three years and $40 million remaining. 

Hopkins reportedly threatened to hold out without a raise, which would've been unlikely given the new collective bargaining agreement's stipulation on not back paying when a player returns from a hold-out.

Without O'Brien addressing this matter directly and publicly, it's hard to gauge his thinking on trading Hopkins, who said the reports about this rift are overblown. 

The fact is one of the most respected players in the NFL was traded for below market value in what was clearly a personal conflict. 

It doesn't seem like the tough, smart, or dependable thing to do.