Good afternoon. How’s everyone doing? We got one good, OK.
I just want to start this thing off today by thanking Mr. McNair and the entire McNair family, along with Rick Smith and Coach O’Brien, for really just giving me this incredible opportunity to be a Houston Texan and join this amazing franchise.
Today, I really want to thank my family. Without them, I’m not here today. This dream wouldn’t come true. I’m fortunate to have my mom, my dad and my wife in the audience today. My brother is back home in Montana, and I have the most loving and supportive family in the world, and I wouldn’t be here without them. So thank you.
I want to thank the Bowlen family; I want to thank John Elway; I want to thank coach John Fox; because without them, my NFL journey wouldn’t have started, and so thank you for bringing me into the National Football League and giving me an opportunity in Denver. I would like to thank Coach Kubiak for everything that he did for me last season on our way to winning Super Bowl 50, and I will forever be appreciative for everything Coach Kubiak did for me.
I have to thank my agents, Jimmy Sexton, Jim Denton, R.J. Gosner. Thank you guys so much from the bottom of my heart for everything you guys have done for me from Day 1.
Also, I would definitely be wrong if I did not thank coach Adam Gase. Coach Gase, he’s the one who taught me how to work and prepare on a daily basis every single day in the National Football League, so Coach Gase, thank you for that. Thank you Coach Erickson and Noel Mazzone. Coach, I don’t know what I’d do without you, so thank you very much.
Now on to the future. I have great respect for the Houston Texans organization and what Mr. McNair has created here in Houston. I’m extremely humbled and honored, but most of all, I’m extremely excited to get to work. After speaking with Coach O’Brien today and some of the other coaches, I wish spring ball started tomorrow.
To the fans, to my teammates, to the community, to the organization, I promise you one thing. I promise you that I will come in this building every single day rain or shine, and I will give it everything I have. Nobody will outwork me and nobody will out-prepare me, and that’s the one thing I can promise you.
An old coach once told me, “Only worry about the things that you control.” Well, bottom line is I control how hard I work, I control how hard I prepare, I control how great of a teammate I can be. Bottom line: I want to come here, I want to do my job to the best of my abilities. I want to be a great teammate. But at the end of the day, if I can walk out of this building and somebody said I was a hard worker, and I prepared hard, that’s what will make me feel good.
Without any more comments, I just can’t tell the Houston community, I can’t tell my teammates, the coaching staff, truly how excited I am to be a Houston Texan and get to work in April.
Questions from the media
How tough of a decision was it ... and what were some of the reasons why you picked this organization?
It was a very difficult decision. In fact, it was the most difficult decision in my life. I’m very thankful, I’m very appreciative for everything that the Denver Broncos organization has done for me. However, in saying that, at this point in time in my career, I feel like the Houston Texans give me the best opportunity to be successful from the top down, starting with the McNair family and then moving on down to the coaching staff. And with Coach Godsey and Coach O’Brien and the offensive attack that they have here, I feel like their offense fits my skillset very well, and I’m very excited to play in that offense and that’s ultimately what brought me here to Houston.
When they went back to Peyton Manning at halftime of the San Diego game, how tough was that for you to get over? … Was it something that bothered you?
Absolutely not. That’s football. Guys get whatever you want to call it, benched, replaced, they get injured and another guy comes in and he comes the starter. That’s football and that happens all the time. Bottom line is I always want what’s best for the team, and as long as the football team is winning games, I’m happy. When Peyton came into the game in the third quarter and remained the starter throughout that football game and all the way through the Super Bowl, it was OK with me because our football team was winning games, and ultimately, we won a world championship and that’s why all of us are here today is to compete for world championships. I supported Coach Kubiak’s decision 100 percent. He’s the coach and I will always do what’s best for the football team.
What was it like working with Peyton Manning and what you learned from him?
When you start talking about what I learned from Peyton and what I pulled from him, we would need hours to get through the full list. Obviously, Peyton is one of the best to ever play the position and I have tremendous respect for everything that he’s done in this league. Ultimately, the thing I truly pulled away from Peyton is how to be a pro on a daily basis. How to be the same guy Monday through Sunday whether it’s April or whether it’s November, and I’ll always be very appreciative for Peyton. Whether he knew it or not, I was watching and he taught me how to be a pro.
Where does this moment stack up in your career?
This is right at the top of the mountain. This is truly a dream come true. I’m just so thankful and I’m so appreciative that the McNair family and Rick Smith are giving me this opportunity to be a Houston Texan. To have my parents and my wife in the audience, this truly is a dream.
What kind of expectations have Smith, McNair and O’Brien talked to you about?
We haven’t really gotten into that, but the way I look at it, the Houston Texans were a playoff team last year, and so they’ve already created a great culture here and they’ve already created a great locker room and they already have a great football team. My biggest thing is just coming in and doing my job to the best of my abilities to put the football team in a position to be successful. Just don’t hurt the football team. I don’t think I need to come in here and do anything special. Obviously I know there’s plenty of areas that I can improve in in my game, and I’m already working on that in the offseason.
What are your thoughts on playing with a wide receiver like DeAndre Hopkins?
You can see it in my smile. It is very exciting. I have been very fortunate to experience two great receivers in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, but what DeAndre brings to the game is truly special. DeAndre and I have already talked on the phone. We’re already trying to find a place to go workout together and get to work. So to have the opportunity to play with a football player like that, that’s what gets a quarterback out of bed in the morning.
When in your mind had you decided it wasn’t going to be Denver … and you knew you were moving on?
It wasn’t until tomorrow. Excuse me. It wasn’t until yesterday. It’s a done deal. (laughs) I apologize about that. It was yesterday. It really did come down to the wire. I gave John Elway a phone call just to let him know the direction I was going to go in to and that was a very hard phone call to make, but I told John out of the respect for him and everything he’s done for me, he deserved it. It truly came down to the wire. Like I said before, I could not be more excited to be a Houston Texan and get to work.
There were reports you hadn’t talked to any people in the building in Denver and weren’t answering people’s phone calls for a couple of weeks. Was that not true?
It wasn’t a couple of weeks. There was an offer on the table for a small period of time, and with this being my first time going through free agency, you follow your agency’s advice. I was just following their lead. However, when it did become time to make decisions, I did talk with Denver as well as Houston and we were able to get this deal done.
How do you think you’ll handle the pressure of signing such a large contract?
I don’t want to downplay the contract or anything like that, but bottom line is football is football. And football is played between the white lines, and so when I step on the football field on Sunday or Thursday or whatever that day might be, I’m not going to be thinking about pressure, I’m not going to be thinking about a contract. I’m going to be thinking about how can I do my job in the best way possible and get this football team wins.
From a football standpoint, what do you feel like you bring to the table as a quarterback?
There’s always room for improvement. I’ll start there. You look at last season, and a lot of people may say I took a lot of sacks. I might argue and say I protected the football. There’s two ways to look at it, but I also agree there’s a time and a place to just throw the ball away, throw it at the receiver’s feet, throw it out of bounds over a receiver’s head rather than losing those yards. I’m going to go back and look at all of those plays from last season to improve that area of my game. That’s one thing there. As far as something I bring to the table, I firmly (think) that games are won during the week. Games aren’t won on Sunday. They’re won with how you prepare and how you work as a team during the week and how you compete at practice during the week. I’m just going to try to bring hard work to the table leadership and once again, the Houston Texans are already a great football team. Nobody needs to come in here and work a miracle. I’m just going to try to be the best me I can possibly be on a daily basis to add to this great football team.
What will it be like to go back and play in Denver or potential season opener?
Experiencing a season opener in Denver, the one thing I can tell you is it will be a hell of an environment to go back to Denver opening night. I’m sure I’ll have mixed emotions throughout the day but kind of like I spoke to earlier, when the game starts, I’m only worried about being the best teammate I can be and doing my job to the best of my abilities and hopefully helping the Houston Texans getting a victory while we’re up there.
How will you deal with playing for Coach O’Brien?
I love it. In fact, that’s one of the reasons why I came here. I did hours and hours and hours of research on all the teams that I was considering, and one of the notes I made about Coach O’Brien is passion and fire. So I expect Coach O’Brien to coach me hard. I told him today, I said, “I know you’re a phenomenal football coach. I know your background and where you come from and I want to get everything out of you that I possibly can." I expect to have him coach me very hard, but that’s how you get better.
What is your mindset now that you move forward to tomorrow?
You get to work, it really starts with that. Sometimes people try to make football out to be a complicated game; it’s simple. So to keep that feeling up high, you just get to work. It’s one day at a time stacking up good day, after good day, after good day, and when you’ve stacked up a lot of good days, really good things happen.