Timid isn't in DeVier Posey's vocabulary. The Houston Texans rookie receiver did not just request (and receive) the locker next to one of the NFL's all-time greatest wideouts.
He had the gall to expect more from Andre Johnson.
"People say Andre doesn't talk," Posey tells CultureMap. "But I was going to make him talk. I'd just keep asking him questions.
"Are you kidding me? You've got a guy like that right next to you?! You'd better use that resource."
"From the first day I was drafted, Matt texted me, 'We're trying to win the Super Bowl. Just jump on board.' Andre told me the same thing."
Posey's soaked up the lessons to the point where he has the chance to be a viable difference maker for a Texans team focused on making a Super Bowl run. Houston is 12-2, one win from homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, with a 93-catch, 1,360 yard receiver (Johnson of course) and no other wideout with more than 37 catches or 455 yards.
As good as these Texans have been, there is clearly opportunity still open at receiver.
And Posey is starting to make a grab for it. He turned a good month of practice into a garbage-time shot in the New England rout and impressed enough there to be given much more playing time in last Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts. The result? One of the biggest catches of the game — a 36-yard reception down the middle of the field that saw Posey hang out to the football through a devastating, penalized hit and set up the Texans' third score.
"I lost my virginity on my first NFL bang," Posey says of the collision catch.
Again, he's not timid. Or shy on descriptors.
In many ways, that catch is a fulfillment of the push quarterback Matt Schaub and Johnson gave the rookie from day one though.
"From the first day I was drafted, Matt texted me, 'We're trying to win the Super Bowl. Just jump on board,' " Posey says. "Andre told me the same thing. 'We have the chance to do something special. Jump on board. Jump on board.' It was on me to get with the program.
"I have to earn those guys' respect."
It hasn't always been easy. Posey remembers a particular practice when Texans coach Gary Kubiak got in his face, showing the side of the coach that the public rarely ever sees.
"Kubiak yelled at me one day, 'These are game reps!' " Posey says. "That stuck with me."
Kubiak wanted a rookie who only found himself playing in limited special teams situations to realize that more was there for the taking. If Posey showed him something. So Posey did. Practice by practice by practice.
A year to get reacclimated to football seemed to be Posey's fate. Until, he changed it.
"DeVier's been making plays in practice for a while," left tackle Duane Brown says. "I don't think any of us are surprised by this."
In a way, maybe everyone should be. It wouldn't have been unreasonable to expect this entire season to be a wash for Posey. The NCAA almost wiped out his entire senior season at Ohio State in one of its heavy-handed rulings, suspending him a total of 10 games for things like daring to sell a jersey he wore and accepting a free round of golf.
Texans general manager Rick Smith saw enough in Posey to draft him in the third round, but for much of the season it looked to be a strictly long-term play. Posey was clearly behind Houston's other young wideouts — Keshawn Martin and Lestar Jean. Maybe Posey would have a chance to develop into another one of Smith's Arian Foster, Connor Barwin, Brooks Reed-type finds eventually. But not this season.
A year to get reacclimated to full-time football seemed to be Posey's fate.
Until, he changed it.
"DeVier has a lot of talent," Johnson says.
Now, he's not just on board for the Texans' Super Bowl drive, he has a chance to help push the team around a corner or two. In truth, Johnson's gotten a kick out of talking plenty to Posey and the rest of the Texans' young wideouts. Andre would be Andre no matter what, but it's no great stretch to suggest that shepherding the young receivers along has re-energized him a little too.
"He tells us about the 2-14 season," Posey says. "And we just shake our heads."
Of course, Posey does not stay silent for long. He'll ask No. 80 another question. And another. And another. Anything to keep the lessons going.