McKinney Ready To Lead Texans

O'Brien Wants LB To Be Captain Of The Defense

June 24, 2018 - 6:03 pm

HOUSTON (SPORTSRADIO 610) – Benardrick McKinney got paid and Texans Head Coach Bill O’Brien thinks he deserves every bit of it.

McKinney, 25, who was entering the final year of his rookie contract, signed a five-year $50 million extension with $21 million guaranteed that will make him one of the top five richest inside linebackers in the NFL.

“Hard worker, selfless, really good person, cares about the team, really wants to win, whatever you need me to do that’s what I’m going to do.  He’s here all the time, loves football, has a passion for it and he’s played well.  If you talk to your colleagues around the league in coaching, everybody has respect for Benardrick and I think he deserves what he got,” O’Brien told The Triple Threat on Friday.

After being drafted out of Mississippi State in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft, McKinney has produced from the start of his professional career.  In his second season McKinney recorded a career high 129 tackles and led the team last year with 95 tackles on the season.

The stats are good, but with Brian Cushing gone, McKinney has stepped into a leadership role that the Texans hope can continue for the foreseeable future. 

“He came in and the heart and soul of our team was Cushing.  You have the best player in the NFL (J.J. Watt) playing in front of you.  I don’t think it’s easy to come into that locker room and all of a sudden assert yourself as the leader,” O’Brien said.  “I just always talked to him about eventually being the captain of this defense, that’s what he is now.  BMac has really grown into a leader and I think it’s really good for our team.”