Last season for Joe Mays didn’t go as planned.
The inside linebacker not only missed parts of the season due to a leg injury, but was fined $50,000 by the NFL and suspended for one game on an illegal, helmet-to-helmet hit on Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub. Mays now calls Houston home.
Mays signed a one-year contract with the Texans this week, and with the signing, before the ink could dry on the contract, the memories of this hit last September – a hit where the QB lost part of his ear – were pushed to the forefront with the players becoming teammates.
The newest member of the Texans said he’s spoken with Schaub since becoming a member of the team.
“We talked, man,” Mays said to the Houston media Wednesday. “It’s over with. I’m just glad to hear that everything is okay. Hopefully, the fans can accept me. I know how mad they [were] about it, and believe me, I was upset too.”
The acceptance for the former Denver Bronco could be tough to obtain, or it could be easier since the team itself has welcomed Mays with open arms to their team, as he’s signed a one-year deal.
“I think they will be all right once I do that (make a big hit), so I’ve just got to go out there and play my butt off and do whatever I can for the team,” Mays said. “I wasn’t worried about the players. It was more the fans.
“I read blogs and all that stuff. My wife does, too. She went on the internet and sees all that stuff about they wanted to kill me and all types of stuff. I was just laughing, but I think I was more worried about the fans and how they would respond to me coming here. Hopefully, it’s a good one.”
Mays was asked if he thought the hit on the QB was a “clean play.”
“It was a football play,” he said. “It’s one of those bang-bang type of plays where there is not really anything I could have done differently.
“With me being as short as I am, I definitely didn’t think I was going to hit him in the head, and I definitely didn’t try to. At the end of the day, the NFL made the right decision, and luckily I’m still playing the game.”
With injuries and depth being a bit of a problem for the Texans headed into the season at the linebacker spot, Mays has an opportunity to start for the team.
“I like my chances,” Mays said. “If it’s open as they say it is, and I think it is, I like my chances. I have an opportunity to definitely fight (for a starting position).
“That’s one of the reasons why I chose here, because I can compete, come in and try to start. I definitely don’t mind playing special teams because that’s how I made it in the league is playing special teams. Now, I’m just trying to do whatever I can to get on the defense.”
With the Texans having a 3-4 defense, Mays told the media that defense is good for linebackers.
“I like it,” he said. “I always wanted to get back into a 3-4. This was one of the main reasons why I chose the Texans to come play because I wanted to get into a 3-4 and I like the way they run their system.”
“It’s easy for the linebackers. You just play one gap and you go downhill, make a play, and then pass responsibilities is not hard either.”
(Quotes provided by media.houstontexans.com.)