Texans get to hear from Condoleezza Rice

- Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Advisor, spoke to the entire Texans organization, including the players on Wednesday.

Rice was a guest of owner Bob McNair who brings in a motivational speaker for his organization once a year.

Rice, who is currently a professor at Stanford, was a huge hit with the Texans.

“To have someone of her caliber speak to the football team from a leadership perspective, it’s invaluable, and her message I think resonated with our players,” said Rick Smith, Texans executive vice president and general manager.

“I think they respect her and understand the significant contributions that she’s made to our country and to our world. She watched practice. She was in our meetings as well. I think she enjoyed herself."

And the Texans clearly enjoyed having Rice here to meet with them.

"She talked about her past and she talked about some of the things she had to overcome in her childhood, and really the lessons that her parents taught her, and she shared some of those lessons with us," Smith said.

"There are things that are universal in terms of just understanding. There is no victim. You always have to take responsibility for what you do, and blaming other people won’t help you, and you got to work hard and sometimes you’ve got to work twice as hard as other people do. So there’s a reality to that. I think she was genuine in that communication to our players. I think that they understand that. She brings such character to the message. There’s not a more important role than some of the roles that she’s provided for our country and things that she’s done for the United States and for the world at large. It was just impressive to have her here. She’s a wonderful spirit and a wonderful woman.”

Rice was the second African-American to hold the position of Secretary of State, and she was the first woman to serve in the position of National Security Advisor.

“It was an honor to have her here,” said Bill O’Brien, Texans head coach. "She did an unbelievable job of speaking to our team. She talked about teamwork. She talked about trust. She talked about doing your job, all the things that we emphasize on a daily basis. I thought the guys really took to her, and really enjoyed the conversation that we had.

"She came out to practice. She loves football, grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. Had a father that absolutely loved football. She’s a Cleveland Browns fan, and she talked to us a little bit about that. So it was great.”

The players we spoke with felt the same way.

Offensive tackle Duane Brown:

"She gave her story, how she grew up. The challenges that she had to get in her position. Just how she prepared herself for her moment. How that’s something we have to do, prepare ourselves, and just talked about the focus of teamwork. The teams that she had when she was in the White House, and how they worked together, things that they got accomplished, and the trials that they had to go through as well, something that we could take a lot from.

“It was pretty cool. I didn’t expect that at all. She walked in and everyone was all ears, just the great message she had for us."

Texans inside linebacker Brian Cushing:

“Earlier in the day Kareem (Jackson) told me that she was coming, and I didn’t believe him just because of who she is and what she’s accomplished. It was incredible. Obviously, a different world and realm of business from what we do, but it’s just cool to have an outside influence come in. It’s refreshing to hear her background and really what she’s all about. She touched a little bit on what she did as far as with the President and everything, but for the most part it was more about her upbringing, her mentality and just her general outlook on life and business.

“She touched  on when she grew up in Alabama, and how that time was extremely segregated, but how she looked at it and she was brought up by her parents as it being an advantage, and I think that word kind of stuck out to me big time, just because most people probably wouldn’t describe it as an advantage at that time. She could have went completely in the other direction. She could have thought about it as a no way out, and obviously she’s completely turned it around, and made the most out of her life and just an unbelievably successful woman.”     

Guard David Quessenberry:

“I really enjoyed it. She has a really unique perspective on things, where she’s grown up. What she’s been through. How she served our country. I was really quite taken by what she said.”

Quessenberry said one thing in particular stood out to him.

“In order to have an effective organization you got to be able to trust that everyone’s going to do their thing. “They got to be able to trust that you’re going to do your job. Her big thing was she can’t focus on everybody else. She trusts that everyone around her was doing what they needed to do and she was taking care of her job. Then together we can accomplish great things. I think that’s a big part of our team too.

“She’s experienced so much. When you get someone like that, with such a unique perspective, you really can learn a lot, doesn’t matter if we’re in football or some business across the street, she can give something to everyone.”

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