Bob McNair meets with Texans players, expresses regret over 'inmates' comment

Bruschi respects Hopkins' reaction (2:00)

Tedy Bruschi says DeAndre Hopkins has the right to sit out of practice after the comments made by Texans owner Bob McNair. (2:00)

Team owner Bob McNair met with Texans players Saturday morning and expressed regret for his "inmates running the prison" comment, a source confirmed to ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

"I know they were upset," McNair told the Houston Chronicle. "I wanted to answer their questions. I told them if I had it to do over again, I wouldn't use that expression."

Later Saturday, McNair issued a statement that expanded on his apology from Friday.

"As I said yesterday, I was not referring to our players when I made a very regretful comment during the owners meetings last week," the statement read. "I was referring to the relationship between the league office and team owners and how they have been making significant strategic decisions affecting our league without adequate input from ownership over the past few years.

"I am truly sorry to the players for how this has impacted them and the perception that it has created of me, which could not be further from the truth. Our focus going forward, personally and as an organization, will be towards making meaningful progress regarding the social issues that mean so much to our players and our community."

Mortensen confirmed the statement was part of McNair's message to the players during Saturday's meeting.

An owner who was in the meeting told ESPN on Saturday, though, that, given the discussion in the room when McNair made the statement, it would be hard to conclude how he could have been referring to anyone other than players.

A Texans offensive starter told ESPN's Josina Anderson that the team will meet Saturday night "to discuss a demonstration tomorrow." The player also said that he expects everyone on the team to travel Saturday to Seattle.

McNair issued a public apology Friday following an ESPN The Magazine report that McNair said, "We can't have the inmates running the prison," during last week's owners meeting, in reference to ongoing player demonstrations during the national anthem.

"I let them know that No. 1, the last thing I want to be is a distraction to the team," McNair told Houston's Fox 26 on Saturday. "If any of the players were offended by what was reported, I'm sorry about that, and I apologized to them for that. We need to just work together going forward."

Some Texans players considered staging a walkout following McNair's comment, a source told ESPN.

About 10 players, including Pro Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, left the facility Friday, the source said.

Sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter that Hopkins' absence from practice was directly related to McNair's comment. Running back D'Onta Foreman also did not practice over the quote, sources told ESPN's Sarah Barshop.

Most of the players who left returned to the facility, a source said, and the remaining players were talked out of their protest by the coaching staff.

"When it happened, there's a thousand emotions going through your mind," left tackle Duane Brown said Friday. "Obviously, one of the emotions is to leave the building immediately. [But] we decided to go to work. The situation's not over. It's something that we'll reconvene and talk about again, but we had practice today."

Texans coach Bill O'Brien said Hopkins had taken a "personal day."

O'Brien said Friday that he expected Hopkins to be on the team plane to fly to Seattle on Saturday and that the wide receiver will play Sunday against the Seahawks.