Losing Mario Williams was agitating enough, but when Houston shipped Pro Bowl linebacker DeMeco Ryans to the Eagles for a 2012 fourth-round draft pick and a swap of third-round choices Tuesday, a pair of Texans defenders were caught off-guard by the news on the set of NFL Network.
"It's a big surprise to me. I don't know what's going on at this moment, but I just think that DeMeco's a great player. A great leader," Smith said. "I think he's going to be an asset to each and every team he plays for. We throw around the term 'dog' a lot, but that's that man. I think our defense is going to miss him. That's all I can say about it. I'm not in agreeance with it, Rick (indicating Texans general manager Rick Smith)."
Then peering into the camera: "... Come on, Rick."
Perhaps catching up to the fact that his words were being broadcast to a waiting America, Smith shifted gears.
"We gonna get it right, though," he said. "Come on, baby, let's do this."
Siciliano turned to Watt, the behemoth second-year defensive end, who edged closer to the company line:
"DeMeco is by far and away the most respected guy on our defense, our leader," Watt said. "He's the guy everybody turns to, especially with things going tough. So, it's tough to see him go, but, at the end of the day, what can we do? ... We can't do anything about that."
Sapp broke it down, paraphrasing for the men who couldn't say much more: "That was our rock in the middle of our defense," he imagined out loud.
Both agreed, nodding, perhaps wondering if any of this was worth a fourth-round gamble.