NFL

DeAndre Hopkins Better Step Up After His Not-So-Subtle Dig at Former Team

The Houston Texans were involved in a stunner of a trade this offseason. The Texans shipped DeAndre Hopkins, one of the NFL’s premier wide receivers, to the Arizona Cardinals. At the time, Hopkins said it was “the outcome that I wanted.” On Thursday, after his former team lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the season opener, Hopkins reiterated that stance.

DeAndre Hopkins has become an elite wide receiver

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After playing his college football at Clemson, DeAndre Hopkins was a first-round selection in the 2013 NFL draft. The Houston Texans grabbed the 6-foot-1 wide receiver with the 27th overall pick. Although he started all 16 games in his rookie season, Hopkins didn’t break out until his second year in the NFL.

In 2014, Hopkins was more of a focal point in the offense as he was targeted 127 times. He hauled in 76 passes for 1,210 yards and six touchdowns. Hopkins averaged a career-high 15.9 yards per catch. The following season, Hopkins made the first of his four Pro Bowls. He caught 111 passes for 1,521 yards and had 11 touchdown catches.

After a 2016 season in which he failed to reach the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the only time other than his rookie year, Hopkins made three straight Pro Bowls. In 2017, Hopkins led the league in touchdown receptions with 13, while also catching 96 passes for 1,378 yards. In 2018, he had career-highs in receptions (115) and yards (1,572) to go along with 11 touchdown catches. He has 54 receiving touchdowns to go along with three rushing scores in his career.

Hopkins traded to the Arizona Cardinals in the offseason

DeAndre Hopkins isn’t short on confidence. According to Sports Illustrated, Hopkins considered himself the toughest and best wide receiver in the NFL. The Houston Texans shocked the NFL world during the offseason when they traded Hopkins and a fourth-round pick to the Arizona Cardinals. In return, the Texans received a second-round pick and a fourth-rounder, along with running back David Johnson.

Johnson had a Pro Bowl season in 2016 when he was Mr. Everything with the Cardinals. That season, Johnson led the NFL in touches (373), yards from scrimmage (2,118) and total touchdowns (20). He rushed for 16 touchdowns and racked up a career-high 1,239 yards on the ground.

Johnson hasn’t been the same since 2016. In 2017, Johnson injured his wrist in the season opener against the Detroit Lions. He never returned to the field that year. Johnson had a solid 2018 season, playing in all 16 games and rushing for 940 yards and seven touchdowns. Last season, he had just 345 rushing yards in 13 games.

Hopkins welcomed the trade to the Arizona Cardinals

According to Sports Illustrated, after the Houston Texans blew a 24-0 lead to the Kansas City Chiefs is last year’s playoffs, DeAndre Hopkins knew his time was over in Houston. He believed head coach and now GM Bill O’Brien had been trying to move him. He knew that “asking for a little raise would lead to the outcome that I got,” he said, “which is the outcome that I wanted.”

During the NFL’s season opener Thursday night between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans, Hopkins’ name was brought up. After David Johnson, the player traded for Hopkins, scored the season’s first touchdown, announcers Chris Collinsworth and Al Michaels said maybe the deal wasn’t so lopsided after all. Houston’s lead was short-lived as the Chiefs cruised to a 34-20 victory.

After the game, Hopkins tweeted one word that appeared to show how he felt about being traded to the Cardinals. “Grateful,” he wrote. Hopkins needs to live up to his end of the bargain Sunday and get the Cardinals a victory over the San Francisco 49ers. The Cardinals haven’t been to the playoffs since the 2015 season.