How difficult of a decision was it to leave Cincinnati after playing there for so long?
“It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. The Bengals gave me my start in the NFL. They drafted me and I wanted to end my career in Cincinnati. I have a home there, I was involved in the community, so it was tough. But at the end of the day, I had to make the decision that was best for me and my family. There were things about the team that were not settled. The situation with Carson Palmer wasn’t handled the way it should have been. I just wasn’t sure which direction the team was going in.”
What was it about Houston that attracted you to the team and the city?
“Houston was one of those up-and-coming teams. They’ve got a great defense, and it seemed like they just needed a little leadership in the secondary to kind of solidify things. They’ve got a great team already in place, they just needed a couple of pieces to the puzzle. You look on both sides of the ball and there are established veteran players that want to make a run at a Super Bowl.”
What’s it like to go up against wide receiver Andre Johnson in practice every day?
“Andre was one of the guys that kind of recruited me to Houston, so going up against him in practice has definitely made me a better player. I don’t think there’s a better wide receiver right now in the NFL. He works harder than anyone in practice, and you can see why he’s as good as he is. He’s a load out there. He’s tough to handle. He’s 6-2 or 6-3 and 230 pounds and he can run with anyone. You can’t help but get better when you play against a guy like that every day.”
Emotionally how did the team handle the loss of quarterback Matt Schaub?
“It was a big blow. Everyone was sad for Matt. He’s another guy that works hard and is prepared every time he steps on the field. He made a lot of big plays for us this season. I think the team handled it well. Our motto here is ‘next guy up’ when there’s an injury. The next guy has to step up and get the job done. It was Matt Leinart before he went down, and now T.J. Yates has stepped up the last couple of games and played well for us.”
What’s Arian Foster really like?
“He’s a special talent. I’ve been keeping up with him since he was at Tennessee. He’s another hard worker, but this team is full of guys that work hard every day. He’s a young guy, but he learned pretty early what it means to be a professional, and that’s important. There are a lot of talented guys out there, but unless you’re taking care of yourself on and off the field, it doesn’t matter. He’s a very dynamic player. He can catch the ball coming out of the backfield, so he’s not a one-dimensional player.”
Has Carolina quarterback Cam Newton surprised you with the success he’s had this season?
“Not really. There’s a reason he was the first player picked in the draft. The guy has a lot of talent. His game has translated better from college to the NFL than a lot of people thought, including me. There were a lot of doubters about what he could and couldn’t do coming out of college. He’s a big, strong guy that can throw the ball the length of the field. He can run and create plays with his legs. He’s been lights out pretty much from the first game on and I think he’ll be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL sooner rather than later.”