TRAINING CAMP NEWS AND NOTES

Texans training camp report: Kenny Stills speaks on social injustice

Photo Courtesy of the Houston Texans

Kenny Stills caught several deep passes from Deshaun Watson as the Houston Texans opened another week of training camp, Monday morning, inside the Houston's Training Center. As Stills and Watson rekindled their on-field connect from the previous season, a smile emerged on the face of the California native.

Unfortunately, the slight moment of joy the 6-foot-0 slot receiver felt did not last.

Stills arrived to practice with a heavy heart after receiving the disturbing news of Jacob Blake — an unarmed African American male who was shot seven times by Wisconsin police on Sunday. The shooting comes five months after the killing of Breonna Taylor and four months following the murder of George Floyd.

"I think it further proves the point that we need to make a change with what's going on with our law enforcement," Stills said following practice. "We have another unarmed black man being shot seven times in front of his children. I think there [are] other ways to deescalate these situations and just another horrible example of what our law enforcement is doing to our people."

Since 2016, Stills has been an activist fighting against social injustice and police brutality. Living by the phrase, "actions speak louder than words," Stills has partnered with police departments in Houston and Miami, with the hopes of improving the relationship between law enforcement and minority communities.

In mid-July, Stills was one of 87 people charged during a protest outside of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron's home demanding justice for Taylor. The felony charges were dropped.

"It's great to have more people listening, more people paying attention, but there's got to be action behind that," he said. "Taking a knee, raising a fist and making t-shirts, putting people's names on our helmets or what have you – that's not going to bring somebody back to life. That's not going to stop somebody from getting shot."

"I'm really focused on the things that I can do outside of just taking a knee — like I always have been. So, yeah, it's great that we've got more people involved in the movement and more people paying attention, but it seems like, in a way, a lot of the leagues are just figuring out ways to market it and then make money off of it and then move forward."

Secondary continues to make strides

Stills was not the only player Watson made happy with his passes on Monday. During an 11-on-11 team scrimmage, third-year safety Justin Reid intercepted Watson's pass attempt to wideout Steven Mitchell Jr.

Reid's pick was the second interception by the Texans' secondary. The other was made by second-year cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr. — whose defensive stop prevented Houston's offense from converting a touchdown inside the red zone.

Johnson has been one of a handful of players Head Coach and General Manager Bill O'Brien have raved about since the start of training camp on July 25. The 24-year-old from Kentucky spent the bulk of the offseason honing his skills, with the goal of playing a more significant role as he enters his second season. As a rookie, Johnson recorded 40 tackles (33 solo hits) in 14 games (seven starts) last season for the Texans.

"Lonnie's made a lot of progress," Head Coach and General Manager Bill O'Brien said. "I think the key with Lonnie is health. I think the other key is just continuing to grow in our defense. There are a lot of jobs that he can do, also. He can play corner. He can play safety. He can play down in the box. He covers kicks for us. Just staying on top of his assignments every week's going to be important."

Absent from Monday's practice: Isaiah Coulter. Keke Coutee. Jonathan Greenard. Cullen Gillaspia. And Phillip Gaines.

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Reagan and Alex Bregman welcomed little Knox on August 2. Photo by Priscilla Dickson.

A Houston power couple have just welcomed their first child. Houston Astros star Alex Bregman and his wife, entrepreneur Reagan, announced the birth of their son, Knox Samuel Bregman on Tuesday, August 2.

The Bregmans posted a photo of a quite cozy little Knox — looking warm in a knit beanie and blanket — on Instagram with a simple caption revealing his name. Thousands of well-wishing comments to the couple, who married in 2020, range from Knox’s doting grandmother Laurice Howard to Astros pitcher José Urquidy, who cheered his teammate with, “Congrats Brrrrregybomm!!!”

Little Knox arrives just a day after his father Alex Bregman was scratched from the Astros’ game against the Red Sox on Monday, August 1 and listed as multi-day paternity leave. Soon, Twitter exploded with reports that Reagan Bregman was in labor, and the watch began. News of Knox’s birth was first announced during the broadcast of Monday’s Astros/Red Sox game.

A savvy entrepreneur and mastermind behind the socially conscious athleisure line Exiza, Reagan Bregman has been a popular presence on social media, not only for her empowering posts, but also for her regular pregnancy updates and even shopping tips.

“Overall, I’m feeling pretty good,” she told CultureMap exclusively when the couple announced Samuel in February. “Some days, I’m extremely tired, but now that I’m in my second trimester I feel some energy coming back. I am still running Exiza day to day and we have so many new and exciting additions we are making to the line. I am very lucky I get to work from home though, because some days all I want to do is nap.”

Since then, she has launched a new line of Exiza called Breaking Barriers, which she told CultureMap she’ll get back to running as soon as she’s able.

Alex Bregman, meanwhile, is in fine form this summer, a promising sign for an Astros postseason run. After returning from major injuries including a broken hand last season, the slugger who boasts 13 Breggy Bombs (home runs) this year.

The All Star will play the Red Sox tonight (August 2). Win or lose, Bregman is already guaranteed an unforgettable, grand slam night.

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