Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins said in a statement to ESPN he is returning to join the Houston Texans, despite his disappointment in the team’s unwillingness to negotiate a contract extension for him.
“I too am disappointed that the Texans organization has elected not to enter into contract negotiation to secure my future as a Texan,” the statement read. “I have expressed my sincere position regarding my contract status and with sound mind have expressed my stands (sic) to the Texans organization.
The team moved Hopkins from the Reserve/Did Not Report list back to the active roster on Sunday.
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“My focus also is on the 2016 season and to help my team reach our ultimate goal,” Hopkins’ statement read.
The statement continued: “Having said that I am returning to the Houston Texans to play for a Super Bowl in Houston, Texas. … We are excited about returning to the team and grind this camp.”
Hopkins said in his statement that he would be talking to the media further on Sunday afternoon but that news conference has been rescheduled for Monday.
Hopkins was placed on the team’s did not report list yesterday after he began a short holdout to express his displeasure. The Texans receiver is entering the fourth year of his rookie contract and is set to make $1.4 million this year.
Hopkins now will be eligible to collect his $445,004 roster bonus on Aug. 4.
Earlier Sunday, Texans general manager Rick Smith said the team’s position was “firm” that it would not negotiate with Hopkins this season.
“His actions are counterintuitive to any of the productive energy that is necessary for anything to get done,” Smith said of Hopkins after the team’s first training camp practice on Sunday morning.
“There are any number of factors that go into when or whether or not to extend a contract,” Smith added. “[Hopkins’ representatives] came to us this summer and talked to us about that. We contemplated and came to a decision and we communicated that decision to them and told them it was a firm decision.”
Watt said Sunday that he understood Hopkins’ position.
“I’m a player, so I advocate for players getting paid,” Watt said on Sunday. “If I was in the front office, I’m sure my answer would be different. But I’m a player, and I know that a career is short. And if he feels this is what he needs to do, then this is what he needs to do.”
ESPN’s Adam Schefter contributed to this report.