GLENDALE, Ariz. — Case Keenum is a little hipper than you think. The Houston Texans football nerd sees farther beyond the game — and the film room — than one might expect.
Just look at one of the greatest player introductions in Sunday Night Football history. That is what Keenum pulled off out of nowhere last weekend. It's why he's suddenly not just must-watch TV when he's on the field, flinging it deep.
You have to see Case Keenum in the player intros from here on out too.
Keenum's always been big picture aware. Khator increasingly turned to Keenum to publicize non-sports events and issues.
In the Sunday Night national TV showcase, Keenum introduced himself as being from the University of Houston and The Third Ward. Yes, the West Texas kid gave a nice shout out to the often-maligned neighborhood around UH. And you don't think Keenum is aware of current events?
The University of Houston is under some pressure to reach out more to The Third Ward. UH president Renu Khator has made that one of her driving initiatives.
The idea is a university should just not be in a community, but that it should impact it for the better.
And there's Keenum providing the most high-profile recognition of that mission as possible.
It's another rather impressive display of awareness — and big picture thinking — by the Texans new starting quarterback. Such a gesture wouldn't even be on the radar of most guys making their second career NFL start.
Or their 100th for that matter.
These TV player self intros are typically full of grandstanding and bravado. Guys give gleeful shout outs to their colleges — call Miami University The U and the like. Sometimes guys mad at their college reference their high schools. Or junior highs.
Case Keenum . . . he recognizes The Third Ward.
Not that you should be all that surprised. Keenum's always been more big picture aware — and interested. Khator increasingly turned to Keenum to publicize non-sports events and issues in his last few years at the University of Houston. When Houston achieved Tier One academic status, Khator tapped Keenum to speak at the press conference.
Just another example of why this quarterback is a little different. Off the field — and on.
"Case is a gunslinger," Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians says. "He plays with a lot of confidence."
Of course that confidence couldn't help Keenum avoid a different kind of introduction in Arizona. On the very first offensive play of the game, Cardinals linebacker John Abraham burst in on Keenum and sack-stripped the second-year quarterback. Matt Shaughnessy scooped up the fumble and returned it six yards for a touchdown.
Arizona 7, Houston 0. Just 14 seconds of game time gone.
Keenum bounced back from that introduction too though. He led a touchdown drive minutes later, punctuating it with a pass to Andre Johnson that had tons of zip on it.