Duane Brown: 'I'm definitely playing football this year'

Duane Brown has been staying away from the Houston Texans all year in search of a new deal, but will we see him back on the field soon?

Speaking to reporters while assisting people in Houston affected by Hurricane Harvey, the standout left tackle said he plans to play football in 2017, but declined to say how close he might be to rejoining his teammates.

"I'm not getting into that too much, but I'm definitely playing football this year," Brown said after being asked about the status of negotiations with the team, per FOX 26 in Houston. "It's tough, man. It's my craft, something I love to do. Those are my brothers. So it's tough. But like I said I'm not going to get into it too much. We'll see what happens."

Although Brown seems determined to play, it's unknown how close he might be to rejoining the Texans or whether he'll have a reworked contract with team before doing so.

At the start of camp, Texans general manager Rick Smith was firm in believing there was nothing to question regarding Brown's status with the team.

"Duane's under contract for two more years. That's our position," Smith said. "He's an important member of our team, and he ought to be here."

Brown hasn't been happy with his contract situation for awhile. He skipped the Texans' entire offseason program -- an absence triggered a de-escalator clause that cut his salary for 2017 from $9.65 million to $9.4 million.

After nine seasons in Houston, Brown finished last year as the 17th-ranked tackle league-wide, per Pro Football Focus. As the team's most valuable lineman, the bookend is likely seeking security in the form of more guaranteed cash.

Whether he'll get that payout remains to be seen.

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