But he wasn't about to blow a gasket and his best chance of starting in the NFL.
"I mean, obviously, you get motivated," he told Bruce Murray and Brady Quinn on the SiriusXM Blitz. "We're all competitors here and if you didn't have a little chip on your shoulder, you don't have a pulse, really. And that's kind of the mindset I had for it.
"But I also learned a valuable lesson early on my college career, high school career, and that's you don't bite the hand that feeds you. So you go out there and you compete and you work your tail off, and the cream will rise to the top, and that's kind of the mindset that I have."
Savage sat by idly as Houston went out and dropped truckloads of money on Brock Osweiler last offseason, only to see the starter benched after a maddeningly inconsistent first 14 weeks of the season. Not biting the hand that feeds paid off when Savage stepped in as the new starter, and although it was shortlived thanks to injury, it opened the door for more in 2017.
Savage's comments on the quarterback room have been peculiar up until now. He referred to the situation as one that would be "fun and peaceful" before the draft. After the selection of Deshaun Watson, Savage became "super ready" for a "battle." We went from dandelion-filled meadows and butterflies to shields, swords and torches.
The good news for Savage: He might not be King Leonidas, but his efforts aren't going unnoticed. Houston's QB coaches told the team's official site as much on Tuesday, and Bill O'Brien affirmed the passer's place atop the depth chart even while showering praise on Watson.
"Deshaun's been very impressive relative to being a rookie, so it's a competitive position," O'Brien said, via ESPN. "Tom's No. 1. He knows, like I said from day one, he's got to earn it every day."
Having said all of this, it really does remain as simple in Houston as it does almost anywhere else: This time of year is all about competition. It's been said it breeds greatness. Whether it produces a star in Savage or Watson, we'll have to wait to see.