HOUSTON — Texans veteran left tackle Duane Brown ended his holdout on Monday after missing the team’s first six games.
Brown, who has two years remaining on his contract, had sought a new deal, which he did not receive. The three-time Pro Bowler, who has been the team’s starter since he was drafted in the first round in 2008, refused to discuss his lengthy absence.
“I’m just here working, man,” Brown said. “I’m leaving everything else up to the front office and my agent.”
But he did say he was happy to be back and that he received a warm reception from his teammates.
“I missed these guys a lot,” he said. “It’s good to be back here. Ready to get back to work.”
It’s unclear if he’ll be ready to play on Sunday when the Texans (3-3) visit the Seahawks, but coach Bill O’Brien didn’t rule it out.
“Glad to have him back,” O’Brien said. “He’s in good shape and we’ll just keep working with him and see where it goes from here.”
Brown said he’ll do whatever the coaches ask of him, but that he’d be ready to play if they need him.
“It’s my 10th year doing it, so I’m very familiar with what I need to do in order to be out there and be productive and be efficient,” he said. “I’m in shape, so just getting caught up to speed on the plays and the terminology and I’ll be good.”
Though it appears that Brown will remain with the team, there is some speculation that the Texans will try to trade him before the Oct. 31 deadline. Brown said he can’t worry about that possibility and is glad to be a part of the team again.
“This is where I want to be,” he said. “I love the city of Houston, love the fans, love my teammates, and so I’m here to work.”
His salary for this season is $9.4 million, a big chunk of which he lost in his holdout. His 2018 salary is $9.75 million.
The 32-year-old has been Houston’s most steady presence on the line since joining the team, starting 132 games — all at left tackle — in his career. His return should be a boost to an offense which has flourished with rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson, but that is looking to improve and make a push for the playoffs.
“He’s a special talent, man,” Brown said of Watson. “I think coach O’Brien’s done a great job of catering to his skillset and he’s been able to do a lot. It’s been great to watch and I’m excited to be a part of it.”
O’Brien expects his return to help the offense.
“No question,” he said. “You have a … 10-year veteran, tough, athletic,” O’Brien said. “It’s good when you can add to what you already have and it’s good to have him back.”