Texans ready showcase team to London fans

Houston Texans outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus (59) before an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

Texans quarterback had an opportunity to visit London this past summer on more of a leisurely type trip.

He has again made the voyage across the pond this week but this time he has 52 of his Texans teammates and the coaching staff with him. This is definitely a business trip. The Texans are taking on AFC South rival Jacksonville on Sunday (8:30 a.m. Texas time) at Wembley Stadium.

While Watson understands the importance of this game if the Texans have any hopes of repeating as the AFC South champs, he is also looking forward to his first opportunity to play in London.

“It’s a dope opportunity, not just for me, but this whole team and this organization to be able to have the chance to play in front of the world and for us to play in a different environment and different crowd,” said Watson, who on Thursday was named AFC Player of the Month. “We’re actually looking forward to it.”

It’s certainly arduous task packing up and taking a 10-plus hours trip some 4,846 miles in the middle of the season, but it’s hard to find anyone complaining. Even Texans coach Bill O’Brien is playing nice even though there is much more on his plate leading up to the game like traveling injured players on a flight that long and the breaking up of his normal game-week routine.

“At the end of the day, it’s another road game,” O’Brien said. “It’s not – it’s a little bit longer, obviously. It’s a little bit different relative to the week.”

O’Brien, who was an assistant coach with the New England Patriots when they played Tampa Bay in London in 2009, knows that this game means a lot to the franchise and he is looking forward to showcasing his team in front of the fans in England. He wants to leave a good impression.

“I think I’d like the fans to know that this is a great organization that cares about the community relative to Houston, obviously, but also cares about and is really looking forward to going over there and playing in London,” O’Brien said. I want the fans to know that we have an organization that cares a lot about football, but also everything else surrounding football, and I think I’d like the fans in England to know that we have a bunch of great guys on this team that are excited about playing in front of the London fans.”

Follow Terrance Harris on Twitter @terranceharris