In fact, he knew it was going to happen once he asked for a raise.
In an interview with Greg Bishop of Sports Illustrated, Hopkins said he had spoken to his family throughout last season about a desire to move on, and move away from Texans coach Bill O’Brien. He thought O’Brien had been shopping him in a trade for more than a year.
Hopkins told Bishop he knew how to make it happen. He just had to ask for a raise.
DeAndre Hopkins: No relationship with Bill O’Brien
O’Brien has acknowledged that Hopkins’ desire for a raise played into the decision to trade him to the Arizona Cardinals. Someone leaked Hopkins’ demands, which were actually reasonable compared to other elite receivers. But it must have angered O’Brien, considering Hopkins had three years left on his deal.
It seems Hopkins knew what would happen next. Hopkins told Bishop “that asking for a little raise would lead to the outcome that I got, which is the outcome that I wanted.”
There has been a lot said about the relationship between Hopkins and O’Brien, but Hopkins shared that he and O’Brien barely talked at all.
“There was no relationship,” Hopkins told SI. “Make sure you put that in there. There’s not a lot to speak about.”
Hopkins needed to move on
The story talks a lot about Hopkins’ background, his disagreements with some of the anonymous comments about him and his game (“Obviously, we know where all that’s coming from,” Hopkins told Bishop) and moving forward with Arizona. Without O’Brien.
The Hopkins trade to Arizona will be discussed for a long time. It has boiled O’Brien’s tenure with the Texans down to a single move: If it doesn’t work out, he’ll just be the guy who gave away one of the NFL’s best players for very little in return.
There will always be people to criticize the player, because that’s the default for most fans. They side with management for some reason. Yet Hopkins has come off as reasonable at every step, stuck with a coach who didn’t seem to value him on or off the field. The SI story reveals a lot about Hopkins’ character and who he is off the field.
It seems Hopkins will benefit from a change of scenery. We’ll see if the Texans can say the same.
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