The National Football League season gets underway this week, but for many members of the Houston Texans – including Surrey’s Christian Covington – the on-field action has taken a backseat to a much more important project.
They’ve been helping the south Texas city’s residents deal with damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, which hit last month and has caused billions of dollars in damage and driven thousands from their homes.
Half of the estimated 60 Harvey-related deaths as of this week have been in Houston.
Covington, a second-year defensive lineman – and son of Canadian Football League hall-of-famer Grover Covington – has been one of a handful of Texans players who have raised money and helped deliver supplies to residents since the category 4 hurricane flooded the Magnolia City with more than 40 inches over water in just four days.
Covington’s high-profile teammate on the defensive line , All-Pro J.J. Watt, has raised $20 million for flood relief efforts in little more than a week.
On Aug. 25, Covington tweeted he was ‘Praying for my family and everybody who’s in Houston! Please be safe and take care of yourselves and each other.” He also tweeted out a link to a site selling ‘#HoustonStrong” merchandise to help aid in relief efforts.
Praying for my family and everybody who's in Houston! Please be safe and take care of yourselves and each other 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽
— Christian Covington (@thetangibleC4) August 25, 2017
Though he is entering just his second year with the Texans, it is actually Covington’s seventh year in Houston – he spent five years at Rice University before entering the NFL. On the team’s official website, the Surrey native said that Houston has “truly become my second home.”
“To see all the devastation that happened, from while we were away from the city, it hurt a lot of us. A lot of us felt helpless. My family was kind of stuck in the area as well. I had a lot of college friends and former teammates who were affected,” he continued.
The Texans are scheduled to play the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday at Houston’s NRG Center, though it was initially thought that the game would have to be moved to an alternate site due to flooding. The Texans organization has stated on social media that it is dedicating the season to the city’s residents.
“To be able to finally be back in the city with this team, to be able to dedicate this season to the city of such amazing people and the countless fans who’ve been with us since day one, that’s what we need and it’s great added motivation to be able to look forward to this season,” Covington said.