Tex­ans ready to head home to Houston af­ter game can­celed

The Day - - SUMMARY - By SCHUYLER DIXON AP Pro Foot­ball Writer

Ar­ling­ton, Texas — The Tex­ans headed home to flood-rav­aged Houston af­ter their fi­nal pre­sea­son game against the Dal­las Cow­boys was can­celed Wed­nes­day.

"We've got sev­eral mem­bers of our travel party — our coaches, our play­ers, our staff mem­bers — whose fam­i­lies have been evac­u­ated," gen­eral manager Rick Smith said. "There is so much devastation in the city and the re­gion and we want to be part of the re­cov­ery process."

The game sched­uled for tonight had been moved from Houston to the home of the Cow­boys be­cause of wide­spread flood­ing in the Houston area in the wake of Hur­ri­cane Har­vey. The de­ci­sion to can­cel the game al­to­gether was an­nounced when the Tex­ans said lo­cal au­thor­i­ties had found a safe route for the team to drive the 250 miles home.

Smith said Wed­nes­day was the first day they had the op­tion to re­turn to Houston and the team felt it was bet­ter to go home than to try and play a game on Thurs­day.

"When it be­came avail­able to us, we've got so many guys on the team that are dis­tracted by all the events and the cir­cum­stances that it be­came in­creas­ingly more dif­fi­cult from our per­spec­tive to go out and try to play a foot­ball game," Smith said. "And I'm not sure it would have been fair to do so. So when the op­por­tu­nity arose to­day that we had a safe route to get home (we) made the de­ci­sion to can­cel the game."

Many changes

Af­ter the Tex­ans played their pre­sea­son game in New Or­leans last week­end, they went to North Texas in­stead of home af­ter the storm. The Tex­ans worked out Mon­day and Tuesday at the Cow­boys' prac­tice fa­cil­ity.

Smith wasn't sure when the Tex­ans would re­sume prac­tice, but said that NRG Sta­dium wasn't dam­aged in the storm and that their opener there on Sept. 10 against the Jack­sonville Jaguars would go on as planned.

"We're hurt­ing, Houston is hurt­ing, but we're strong," Smith said.

"We've been there over a decade and we are part of the fab­ric of the com­mu­nity."

Tex­ans star de­fen­sive end J.J. Watt was pleased with the de­ci­sion to can­cel the game and get back to Houston.

"I think it's the right de­ci­sion," he said.

"Ev­ery­body here is ob­vi­ously most con­cerned about their fam­i­lies, their friends, the city of Houston back home. I think it's ex­tremely im­por­tant that we get home as quickly as we pos­si­bly can."

Watt's con­tri­bu­tion

Watt al­most didn't know to re­act to the stun­ning growth of his flood re­lief fundrais­ing ef­fort, which started with a web page and a video Sun­day. Since then, he's been of­fer­ing video up­dates as the to­tal climbed over $6 mil­lion. The orig­i­nal goal was $200,000.

"We've upped the goal to $10 mil­lion be­cause ev­ery­thing is big­ger in Texas," he said. "Why not? Let's shoot for $10 mil­lion and see what we can do."

Watt added that he has trucks filled with sup­plies that he ex­pects to ar­rive in Houston by this week­end.

"The ten­ta­tive plan is Sun­day we're go­ing to have a bunch of my team­mates are go­ing to help me out in a few dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions around town to be de­ter­mined and we're go­ing to hand out sup­plies," he said.

Watt said he's been moved by watch­ing ev­ery­one that has helped out in the cri­sis so far and is look­ing for­ward to pitch­ing in.

"It's been ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to watch," he said.

"But it's also been un­be­liev­ably mo­ti­va­tional to see fire­fight­ers, po­lice­man. Every­day ci­ti­zens out in boats help­ing each other out ... it's an un­be­liev­able thing to wit­ness what hap­pens in a time of cri­sis. The most dif­fi­cult times bring out the best in hu­man­ity."

Cow­boys tight end Ja­son Wit­ten and most of the starters for both teams wouldn't have played in the — — pre­sea­son fi­nale, and Wit­ten said he was happy the Tex­ans were go­ing home.

"I know they're prob­a­bly anx­ious to get home and see their fam­i­lies, just as­sess the sit­u­a­tion," Wit­ten said.

"These guys have a great op­por­tu­nity and plat­form to go back and check on their own fam­i­lies and get in­volved in the com­mu­nity and rally in a lot of ways."

Coach Ja­son Gar­rett said the Cow­boys were plan­ning a prac­tice Thurs­day that would in­volve "some sort of com­mu­nity out­reach."

"We told our team at the out­set of the week that it might be a funny week given the cir­cum­stances that they're go­ing through down in Houston," Gar­rett said.

"We're not go­ing to play the game. It's easy to see why. Now we just have to ad­just."

“We've got sev­eral mem­bers of our travel party coaches, our play­ers, our staff mem­bers whose fam­i­lies have been evac­u­ated. There is so much devastation in the city and the re­gion and we want to be part of the re­cov­ery process.” RICK SMITH, HOUSTON TEX­ANS GEN­ERAL MANAGER our

TONY GU­TIER­REZ/AP PHOTO

Tex­ans cen­ter Nick Martin (66) along with other line­man takes in­struc­tions from of­fen­sive line coach Mike Devlin, right front, dur­ing a morn­ing prac­tice on Mon­day at the Cow­boys train­ing fa­cil­ity in Frisco, Texas.

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