Texans GM Rick Smith claims no dispute with Duane Brown
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. - After the Texans checked in to The Greenbrier for their first training camp outside Houston, general manager Rick Smith addressed offensive tackle Duane Brown’s decision to not report.
Brown, 31, has two years left on his contract, and he didn’t participate in the offseason program, including the mandatory minicamp, because of an undisclosed contract issue.
The Texans placed Brown, who’s entering his 10th season, on the reserve/did not report list.
“I have talked to Duane,” Smith said. “There is no contract dispute. Duane is under contract for two more years. That’s our position.
“We’re here to get our team ready for the season. He should be a part of it. Duane and I have a really good relationship. He’s our longest-tenured player. He’s an important member of our team, and he ought to be here. He needs to be here.”
Smith used a first-round pick on Brown in 2008. Smith, Brown and his agent, Kennard McGuire, haven’t disclosed what the issue is with his contract.
“Well, I’ll let him speak for himself,” Smith said. “Again, from our perspective, there is no contract dispute because he’s under contract. We just want him here.”
Brown is expected to report for the regular-season opener. Players are paid base salaries over 17 weeks during the season.
“I’m not going to guess,” Smith said when asked when he thought Brown might report. “We’ve got 89 other guys here, ready to go to work right now. Those are the guys we’re focused on.
“This is a wonderful facility. We’re excited to be in West Virginia. There’s a little bit of a buzz around the building, I think, in anticipation of getting here. We’ve got to get settled. We’re here for a reason.
“This is a business trip. The goal of training camp doesn’t change because we changed environments. The goal is still the same, to ready our team and to figure out who the best 53 are that’ll help us chase a championship.”
With the exceptions of receiver Andre Johnson and defensive end J.J. Watt, the Texans haven’t extended players with more than one year left on their contracts.
Last year, receiver DeAndre Hopkins tried to get an extension with two years left on his contract, and Smith refused. Smith has a policy of not negotiating contracts during the season.
Hopkins, 25, is expected to get an extension before the season begins.
“We tend to keep our negotiations in-house,” Smith said. “I think if you look at our team – (including) those 10 first-round draft picks still on our team – we like to keep our good players.
“Not only those (first-round picks) but as many of our good young players we develop and can help our team win. We try to keep those guys around. He (Hopkins) certainly fits that category. We’re hopeful he’s going to be here for a long time.”
Besides Brown, the Texans made three other roster moves on the eve of camp.
Defensive end Tony Daniel was placed on the active/physically unable to perform list. Defensive end Joel Heath and outside linebacker Dayon Pratt were placed on the active/non-football injury list.