Only DeAndre Hopkins and Bill O'Brien know how personal things had gotten between them prior to the Texans shipping out one of the best wide receivers in the NFL to the Arizona Cardinalsfor meager compensation. In the immediate aftermath of the deal, numerous reports followed detailing a rift between player and coach.
But for all the shockwaves it sent around the league to jumpstart free agency in March, at least one person was expecting such a move: Hopkins himself.
"It wasn't a big surprise to me after the year," Hopkins told reporters during a Friday conference call, per ESPN. "I was preparing for it."
After seven years in Houston, the three-time All-Pro is also apparently thrilled about his new home.
"I was very excited, actually, about it because [of] what Arizona has been building, having a young quarterback, a young team and also having veterans," Hopkins said. "... I think I watched Kyler [Murray]'s highlights more than I've watched my own highlights."
They figure to be teammates for a while -- Hopkins still has three years on his contract. O'Brien said Hopkins' desire for a new one factored into the Texans' decision to part ways with the 27-year-old star. Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said Wednesday that initial discussions with Hopkins' agent on a possible extension have already ensued. Hopkins wouldn't divulge any further details on that front.
"That's between my agent and the organization," he said. "DeAndre Hopkins goes out and works out every day to prepare myself to get my team the opportunity to win a championship whenever that's possible. So, you know, everything behind closed doors, that's between my agent and the organization."
Arizona's new go-to target did say he's already been in contact with Murray, specifically to glean info on the Air Raid offense. He expressed little concern over picking up the new system, despite probably not being able to work with Murray in person for the foreseeable future. The eighth-year wideout cited his experience playing in different offenses.
His current QB might also possess the most similar traits of any in the league to Hopkins' former one, Deshaun Watson.
"Both of those guys able to get out of situations with their feet, so that's one of the things, and also, they both keep their head downfield and just trying to make their play, not just with their feet," Hopkins said. "So a lot of similarities there. Obviously, they can run out the pocket and get away from things, but both of those guys, also, have a very strong arm."