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Steven Sims excited to embrace challenges of Texans 2024 season

When Steven Sims was getting ready to the field on Saturdays during his time at the University of Kansas, his receivers coach Justin ‘Juice’ Johnson made sure players followed on motto. 

What’s pressure?

Seriously, what is it more than just overhyped expectations that most people who have never taken a snap will never truly comprehend? 

In a sense, that’s how Sims views the Houston Texans’ upcoming season as they jump from the hunted at the AFC cellar to the hunters atop the AFC South standings. 

“It’s not really pressure for us,” Sims told Texans Wire in partnership with the American Cornhole League in preparation for their celebrity tournament in Las Vegas. “It’s more so us going out and showing what we’re capable of doing. Last year, we had a great season, and we added some great pieces in the offseason, some great players. The sky’s the limit. I don’t think nobody on the team feels pressure.” 

After 11 wins in three combined seasons, the Texans turned the corner in 2023, headlined by Offensive Rookie of the Year C.J. Stroud. They won their first division title since 2019 and clinched a spot in the divisional round and a pummeling against Cleveland in the wild-card round. 

Sims, who enters his second season with the team, scored Houston’s lone touchdown in a 34-10 loss on a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown. He also hauled in three receptions for 25 yards while helping Stroud become the fifth rookie in league history to throw for 4,000-plus yards. 

The Texans have a target on their backs entering 2024. They know it, too. It’s hard to argue that after adding Pro Bowl talents like running back Joe Mixon, wide receiver Stefon Diggs, and defensive end Danielle Hunter Houston doesn’t feel like a favorite to win the division and compete alongside Kansas City for a shot at Super Bowl LIX down in New Orleans. 

The NFL ensured that Houston would earn its way to the postseason in front of a national audience. The Texans play six standalone games, including four primetime matchups against opponents Detroit, Dallas, Chicago, and New York Jets. 

They also will play three games over 10 days against Miami, Kansas City and Baltimore on Christmas Day, all of which made playoffs a season ago. 

Sims, who joins ACL pro Gavin Cano, is treating the upcoming season like a game of cornhole: one throw —or Sunday — at a time. 

Why add more pressure when it isn’t warranted

“We’re treating it just like last year,” Sims said. “It’s just a normal season. We’re not putting too much under us or trying to come at it like, ‘Oh we’re this or we’re that.’ We’re taking it one day at a time. We’re working, we’re building on the team.” 

Even with the newcomers, Sims believes the locker room has a veteran feel, thus setting the tone for the rookies to follow a standard set by those ahead. 

“A lot of us have been on good teams. We’ve been on bad teams. We know what comes with the NFL,” Sims said. “We just have to go out and handle our 111.” 

Sims is one of eight players participating in the celebrity tournament, joining fellow recently-signed Texas Tim Settle Jr., Titans cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, Raiders running back Alexander Mattison, and others. He will be representing the National Brest Cancer Foundation, a foundation near Sims’ family after both of his grandmothers underwent treatment. 

Sims hopes to finalize his own foundation soon in support of breast cancer and has honored those fighting the disease during his playing career with the ‘My Cause My Cleats’ game each season. 

“I’ve always been a hard supporter of breast cancer awareness,” said Sims. 

The event will be televised on ESPN2 Saturday night and will feature live interviews from players beginning at 10 p.m. PT. 

Story originally appeared on Texans Wire