As the Broncos took the field for practice Monday, the Texans had just finished theirs — from Dallas. The team relocated in the wake of the Houston flooding and will spend the near future at The Star, not far from the Cowboys’ practice facility.
Sunday evening, J.J. Watt started a relief fund for victims of the flooding (YouCaring.com/JJWatt) and donated $100,000 of his money toward the $1 million goal. Monday, Texans coach Bill O’Brien announced the team would dedicate its season to city of Houston and owner Bob McNair would donate $1 million to the United Way of Greater Houston’s flood relief fund. The NFL Foundation later announced it would match the $1 million donation. And the Patriots and owner Robert Kraft pledged to match donations up to $1 million to American Red Cross. And Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander gave $4 million to Mayor Sylvester Turner’s relief fund.
Across the NFL and professional sports, the outpouring of support and donations to victims of Hurrcane Harvey have been tremendous. For many Broncos, on the coaching staff and player roster, the matter is personal.
“It’s heartbreaking. I’m a New Orleans guy,” said coach Vance Joseph, the Texans’ defensive backs coach from 2011-13. “Obviously, Katrina was huge for the city. It’s the same effect with Houston right now. Lots of folks are out of their homes. The water has risen to record highs. They need help down there and it’s heartbreaking to watch on TV.”
Gary Kubiak, the Broncos’ former head coach who was recently appointed senior personnel advisor, has been in Denver since last week as the team finalizes its roster. But his primary residence in Houston. His home and family are said to be fine.
Receiver Jordan Taylor, who grew up in Sherman, Texas, about 300 miles north of Houston, and starred at Rice Unviersity, said his immediate family is fine, too.
“Obviously, the people of Houston and that surrounding area are having a tough time right now,” Taylor said. “It’s a tough deal, I’m praying that everybody gets out safely, that everybody’s homes are okay and that things go smoothly with this cleanup process.”
Taylor played at Rice from 2011-14 and said he’s spoken to some of its players.
“I know that they were actually in Australia playing this past weekend so they couldn’t fly back into Houston,” Taylor said. “I think they’re going to Fort Worth today and they’re going to probably stay out of the TCU facilities for the rest of the week. Hopefully just a week and hopefully they can get things cleaned up pretty quickly.”