Bill O’Brien and DeAndre Hopkins didn’t have the best relationship during their six seasons together in Houston.
In fact, Hopkins said after his 2020 trade to Arizona that he had “no relationship” with O’Brien, his head coach with the Texans.
But one assistant coach who overlapped with both believes O’Brien and Hopkins would be able to “easily” work together if they were to reunite in New England.
John Perry, the Texans’ receivers coach for Hopkins’ final two seasons with the franchise, recently told MassLive.com’s Mark Daniels that he knows O’Brien and Hopkins have “great respect” for each other. The Patriots last month hired O’Brien as their new offensive coordinator, and Hopkins has been rumored as a potential trade target as the Cardinals enter a possible rebuild.
“I think adult relationships are always complicated no matter what you do,” Perry said. “But the thing is when you look at DeAndre Hopkins and his relationship with Coach O’Brien, both of them brought out the best in each other. I still have a strong relationship with Coach (O’Brien) and with DeAndre. He and I speak all the time.
“I know they would easily be able to work together again because they’re both professionals and both want the same thing, which is just to play at a high level and give their team the best opportunity to win.”
Perry, who currently is the offensive coordinator at Lamar, said he “would bet (O’Brien’s) relationship with Hopkins was similar to his relationship with Tom Brady” during O’Brien’s first stint as New England’s OC. O’Brien’s and Brady’s fiery personalities resulted in occasional clashes, including a memorable sideline screaming match during a 2011 game.
“When you’re dealing with the elite players, you just have a great respect for each other, and you see that,” Perry told MassLive. “And I know that exists between those two (O’Brien and Hopkins).”
Acquiring Hopkins would give the Patriots the elite receiver they’ve lacked in recent years, but a report last week from The Athletic’s Jeff Howe indicated such a move is unlikely.
“Never say never, but it would be viewed as a pretty major surprise if the Patriots traded for Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins,” Howe wrote after speaking with league sources at the 2023 Senior Bowl. “… Hopkins fell out of favor with new Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien before O’Brien traded him out of Houston in 2020. A possible reunion? Maybe, but consider it a long shot.”
The 30-year-old Hopkins was suspended for the first six games of this season but was productive upon his return, finishing with 64 catches for 717 yards and three touchdowns in nine games. He’s a five-time Pro Bowler and a favorite of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who said in December that Hopkins is “every bit as good as anybody I’ve ever coached against.”