FOXBORO, Mass. — This weekend was a difficult one for the handful of New England Patriots players who hail from the Houston area.
The city, which hosted Super Bowl LI in February and a Patriots-Texans preseason game just two weeks ago, has been battered by Hurricane Harvey, resulting in overwhelming, widespread flooding.
“It’s crazy,” wide receiver Danny Amendola, who grew up 30 miles north of Houston in The Woodlands, Texas, said after Monday’s practice. “A couple of weeks ago, we were just in Houston, driving down the same streets that are underwater now. It’s unfortunate. A natural disaster, you can’t really do much about it besides help all we can, and that’s what we’re doing. That’s what they’re doing down there.”
He added: “Houston is a strong town. So is Texas — Texas is a strong state. So they’ll pull it together.”
Linebacker Elandon Roberts was raised in Port Arthur, Texas, and played his college ball at the University of Houston. When he was in elementary school, Hurricane Rita rocked his hometown, displacing his family for a full month.
“There’s nothing that you can really do about it,” Roberts said. “But what you can do right now is just pray for the area and hope that they’ll be able to rescue all the people that are trapped right now and just continue to pray, because it ain’t over yet. The storm’s still going on, so hopefully by Wednesday or Tuesday, it’ll be cleared up and they can get that area back home.”
Both Roberts and cornerback Eric Rowe, a Klein, Texas, native, said their families have experienced moderate flooding from this latest storm but have been fortunate enough to avoid the worst of it.
“It’s still a little bit of flooding,” Rowe said, “but it’s not (too bad) compared to pictures of downtown, where water’s going through the roofs. Right now, I’m just praying for everyone down there.”
On Monday, Patriots owner Robert Kraft pledged to match up to $1 million in donations to American Red Cross’ Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Fund.
“It’s not a surprise to me that he wants to help,” Rowe said. “He has a good heart. He’s just a good guy.”
Roberts added: “It just tells you a lot about Mr. Kraft.”
Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who has several former colleagues and players currently working on the Texans’ coaching staff, said his thoughts are with those affected by the storm.
“I’ve talked to some of the people in Houston that I know,” Belichick said. “Some people at the Texans, talked to them. It sounds like a pretty challenging situation. Definitely, our thoughts go out to them, and we’ve expressed those. We’ll see what we can do.”
Some additional notes from Monday:
— Wide receiver Andrew Hawkins, who spent a few weeks with the Patriots this summer before deciding to retire, predicted on Twitter that Patriots wideouts Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan both will have big seasons in the wake of Julian Edelman’s season-ending ACL tear.
— Speaking of Hogan, Belichick was very complimentary of the 28-year-old wideout Monday afternoon in an interview with WEEI’s “Dale, Holley & Keefe.”
“Chris has done a good job for us,” the coach said. “I thought he did a good job last year. He’s built on that with a year of experience. He’s one of our best players, another hard-working guy that’s tough. He’s been very dependable for us.”
Hogan caught 38 passes for 680 yards and four touchdowns last season in his first year as a Patriot.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images