Michael Irvin: Texans Coach Bill O'Brien Compared DeAndre Hopkins to Aaron Hernandez

Jesse Pantuosco
March 18, 2020 - 10:13 am

In the immediate aftermath of his trade to Arizona—a blockbuster deal that caught the entire NFL off guard—DeAndre Hopkins was mum on his troubled relationship with Bill O’Brien. But now that Nuk has had 48 hours to digest the news, he’s not holding back.

NFL Network analyst Michael Irvin has been in close contact with the four-time Pro Bowler since the Texans shipped him to the Cardinals for running back David Johnson and a second-round pick (Arizona also netted a fourth-rounder in the swap). Irvin relayed the details of their conversation during appearances on RJ and Shan on 105.3 in Dallas and ESPN’s Get Up.

Hopkins spoke of a power struggle with O’Brien, a conflict that ultimately culminated in a closed-door meeting initiated by the Texans’ head coach. According to Hopkins, O’Brien began the exchange by comparing their meeting to a similar sit-down he held with former Patriots tight end and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez. As you’d expect, Hopkins did not take kindly to that comparison as the conversation deteriorated from there. The seven-year vet also told Irvin that O’Brien repeatedly complained about the presence of Hopkins’ “baby mamas” who often accompanied the team. Hopkins, who has never been an off-field distraction, was understandably floored by this treatment from O’Brien, and their relationship never recovered from it.

Given O’Brien’s harsh remarks, it’s easy to see why friction existed between Houston’s head coach and Hopkins, a five-time 1,000-yard receiver on a Hall-of-Fame trajectory. After years of coexisting (though not always peacefully), the Texans—eying an unusually strong receiver group in the upcoming draft—decided now was the time to move on from Hopkins. Without him, Houston is down to Kenny Stills and injury-prone Will Fuller as their starting receivers with both entering the final year of their contracts.

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