HOUSTON — Former Houston Texans star receiver DeAndre Hopkins is opening up about head coach Bill O’Brien and the team trading him this offseason to the Arizona Cardinals.
Hopkins is featured on the cover of the latest issue of Sports Illustrated with the headline: “The Outcome That I Wanted.”
The former Texans star said, while his trade this offseason was a shock to most, it came as no surprise to him. He added that he believed O’Brien had been shopping him for more than a year.
However, Hopkins in the SI interview he explained that he had spoke with his family about a desire to start over with a new boss after never building a relationship with the Texans head coach.
“We talked about this before the year,” Sabrina Greenlee, Hopkins’ mother, told him following the team’s Divisional Round playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. “I know you guys had success as a team and you got further than in the past. But if you’re ready to go, I will be your No. 1 supporter.”
Hopkins even said in the interview that he had a hunch that he would be traded to the Cardinals in March.
The star receiver explained that he got the call about being dealt from O’Brien as he was training with fellow star receiver Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons. He said the exchange was brief and businesslike.
“There was no relationship,” Hopkins told SI. “Make sure you put that in there. There’s not a lot to speak about.”
Hopkins mentions that the call even brought a smile to his and Jones' faces. He said he knew “that asking for a little raise would lead to the outcome that I got, which is the outcome that I wanted.”
After the trade was announced, Hopkins spoke with Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin who said the Texans receiver mentioned a private meeting he had with O’Brien during the season.
Irvin said the Texans coach allegedly, in reference to Hopkins’ friends, compared the star receiver to former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, the convicted murderer who hanged himself in prison.
The Texans coach also allegedly also used the phrase “baby mothers” to refer to the mothers of Hopkins’s three children.
Irvin said his analysis of the situation was that because Hopkins and O’Brien had not built up a relationship, the coach’s comments didn’t come across as genuine concerns and that they felt like judgments.
Hopkins has not denied the meeting with the coach but did not delve deeper. He told SI, “If I let the judgment of other people dictate the reality of my life, I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now.”
O’Brien has declined to comment on the meeting only saying, “We wish him the very best in Arizona.”
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