Q&A: Rookie Christian Covington looks to establish his presence with Texans

 

 
 
 
 
Christian Covington, 21, of Surrey was chosen by Houston as the 216th overall pick in 2015 National Football League draft.
 
 

Christian Covington, 21, of Surrey was chosen by Houston as the 216th overall pick in 2015 National Football League draft.

Photograph by: NICK PROCAYLO, PNG

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The clock struck midnight for the Houston Texans on Jan. 9, when the Kansas City Chiefs imposed their will on the AFC South champs and blew them out, 30-0, in the AFC wild-card game.

For three weeks, Texans rookie defensive tackle Christian Covington has remained idle, against his natural instincts. The 22-year-old native of Surrey, Houston’s sixth-round pick in the 2015 NFL draft, played 225 snaps (167 on defence, 58 on special teams) and recorded two sacks and eight tackles. He was active in 15 of 16 regular-season games, learning on a rotational basis as the backup to nose tackle Vince Wilfork, a 12-year veteran and two-time Super Bowl champion with the Patriots.

For Covington, an every-down player at Rice University in Houston before declaring for the draft in his junior year, being held back and told to rest after a long season was counterintuitive. As Super Bowl week looms, Covington is eager to return to his element — the training room — in hopes of contributing more to the defensively dominant but offensively challenged Texans in 2016.

Q: Did you get a chance to get away after your playoff loss to the Chiefs?

A: I’ve never really been a vacation destination guy. I feel like I’ll reward myself later on, when I’ve established myself in this league, and I get more experience.

Q: What have you been doing the past three weeks, since your season ended?

A: The coaches and veteran players told me to allocate time to allow my body to heal. It’s kind of being caught in limbo. I’m not used to down time. All I know is, work, work, work. I wanted to get right back into it (training) after the season ended. But I’ve been told to slow down and rest. I’ve been going crazy.

Q: How would you describe your role in your first NFL season?

A: Basically, I was Vince’s (Wilfork) backup at nose. I’m still amazed by his motor and the number of snaps he plays at his age (34). I give him so much credit. That man still has it. I tried to make the most of my opportunities, usually in third-down situations. I play behind some great football players, like Vince and J.J. (defensive end J.J. Watt, two-time defensive player of the year), who are at the top of their game. I pick their brains every chance I get. A rookie couldn’t ask for anything more.

Q: Physically, were you up to the demands of the NFL game? Some people believe you might have been a first-round pick, had you stayed healthy and completed your senior year at Rice. (Covington broke his kneecap midway through his junior year and was a surprise, early-entry into the 2015 draft.)

A: My knee was not a problem at all. I felt like I could have gone to the (NFL) combine in Indianapolis, but I was advised not to. I felt like I was on top of my game on my Pro Day. At rookie camp and mini-camps, the training staff wanted to make sure I didn’t overdo anything. I haven’t felt pain there since the day I was injured.

Q: Do NFL players not involved in the game watch the Super Bowl? Or is it too hard to watch?

A: Any time you watch players who’ve had success, you’re interested in what they’ve done to get there. Any time I get a chance to watch the best in the game, I’m going to — both as a fan and a student of the game.

mbeamish@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/sixbeamers

 
 
 
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Christian Covington, 21, of Surrey was chosen by Houston as the 216th overall pick in 2015 National Football League draft.
 

Christian Covington, 21, of Surrey was chosen by Houston as the 216th overall pick in 2015 National Football League draft.

Photograph by: NICK PROCAYLO, PNG

 
Christian Covington, 21, of Surrey was chosen by Houston as the 216th overall pick in 2015 National Football League draft.
Christian Covington of the Houston Texans celebrates as he walks off of the field after defeating the Cincinnati Bengals 10-6 at Paul Brown Stadium on November 16, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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