• Brian L. Barefield

Still Proving Them Wrong: After busy off-season Texans Tytus Howard is ready to focus on football.

photo credit/Houston Texans

A lot has changed over the past year for Houston Texans offensive lineman Tytus Howard. He got married to his college sweetheart, Chelsea over the off-season and the two will welcome their first child in the world this coming October. Something I am sure the two are very excited about.

Howard was selected by Houston in the first-round of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Alabama State. The pick that got a lot of scrutiny and criticism from sports media personalities and fans around the city and had a lot of angry people calling in to their local sports shows to voice their frustrations. Many believed that the Texans reached for a player that played against inferior talent every Saturday and wanted Houston to trade up in the first round to take an offensive lineman out of the PAC-12.

All Howard did was quiet the naysayers by making the All-Rookie team while playing in just eight games in 2019 due to a torn meniscus. Now he is back with a point to prove to the rest of the league and the individuals who doubted him.

Tytus and Chelsea Howard

“This year is going to be a lot tougher than all the other years because you didn’t get a chance to do real OTAs and stuff like that, and the offseason workouts how we usually do,” said Howard when asked about the difficulties of preparing for this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was mostly in the building five days a week rehabbing, getting ready for the season. I spent it (offseason) trying to get as healthy as I can so Year Two, I’ll be able to play all 16 games plus the playoffs and bring some solidarity to the O-line so we can be the best unit we can be to help Deshaun (Watson) out and help the team out to be the best offense in the NFL.”

Protection was something that the aforementioned Watson didn’t have to worry about when Howard was in the game. He only allowed two sacks during the eight games played. That will be the type of performance Watson will be looking for this season as the Texans will return all five starters on the offensive line.

“I feel like having that group and that chemistry back is going to be great,” said Watson. “Last year when we had our starting five o-line, we’ve been very, very dominant and we’ve been very successful when all five of those guys are playing at the same time.”

Family has always been important piece in Howard’s life. His mother Teresa Rivers is one of the people who has always believed in “Weenie,” a childhood nickname given to him growing up in Alabama that definitely does not apply now to the 6-5, 322-pound physical specimen. It was her and his wife that gave him the blessing to play this season in the wake of many NFL players opting to sit this year out due to the rise of coronavirus cases being reported every day in the United States.

Teresa Rivers and Tytus Howard

“When it comes to my family, I thought about it,” Howard said when asking about opting out this season. “But in my eyes, I had a talk with my wife and my parents, and I think it was in my best interest to play. At the end of the day, yeah, I have a family, but the team is my family, too. I had to think about the team.”

A proud HBCU alumn, Howard knows the issues some players out of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) will have due to the postponement of the fall football season. He knows the hardships a lot of the players face coming from poverty-stricken situations. Being able to get film footage and playing in games like the Senior Bowl, which helped him get noticed is important when you are trying to get NFL teams to spend a draft pick on you.

“You really don’t know the situations the players have back at home,” said Howard. “I feel like it’s more of a safe haven for the players to be there and be able to play football because these opportunities like this, to play the NFL and go to the NFL Combine and stuff like that, that’s not going to be able to happen to some of those players who play at HBCUs and FCS schools. The NFL don’t really know nobody, to be honest.

“So, if people like Alabama, Auburn, the SEC are still having their seasons this fall how is that going to affect the players who didn’t have their season this fall and have it in the spring? Because they will not be able to go to the bowl games and nothing like that. I support the decision of having it in the spring if it’s in the best interest of the players. But at the end of the day, it is kind of affecting those players who have aspirations to go to the NFL or to any other next level of football.”

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