LOCAL Houston | The City Guide October 2017 - Page 49

FOOD | ARTS | COMMUNITY | STYLE+LEISURE PERFORMING LIKE A PRO BRIAN PETERS NEVER DROPPED THE BALL DURING HARVEY By Carlos Brandon | Photgraphy by Michelle Watson ON THE NIGHT OF AUGUST 26, 2017, I was stuck in the New Orleans airport. My flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Houston was rerouted mid-flight due to flooding on the runways. Hurricane Harvey was battering the city of Houston. Brian Peters was in New Orleans that same night for a preseason game against the Saints. While he played, his home in Bellaire took on almost three feet of water. Brian came back to a flooded house, flooded car and nearly all his possessions destroyed. None of that stopped the third-year Texan from getting to work restoring his community. Brian has been involved in various recovery efforts, volunteering his time and energy, all while finding new housing and attempting to replace what he lost. I got the chance recently to sit and talk to Brian about his career, his time in Houston and his Harvey experience. CB – Brian, your journey to the NFL took you to a few different places: arena football, Canadian football, Minnesota, Houston. Tell me about that transition to the NFL. Did you come into the league with a chip on your shoulder? BP – Yeah, definitely. I didn’t get a call on draft night, so I tried out for a few teams at their rookie camps. Then my agent sent me out to arena ball where I played four weeks for a couple hundred bucks a week. I did a couple years in the CFL and then got an opportunity with the Vikings. They put me on their practice squad and then Houston signed me. But yeah, all that builds the chip on my shoulder; I guess my struggle is not getting complacent now that I’m where I want to be. CB – You’ve just started your third year with the Texans. Do you feel that you’re more at home now in the league? More established? BP I always knew I belonged here. When I got those tryouts originally, I always knew I could play. That’s what got me here; hopefully, that’s what keeps me here – the feeling of belonging. But, yeah, every year you get under your belt you continue to gain confidence and comfort. CB – Brian, as I understand, you felt the effects of Harvey very per- sonally. Can you tell our readers a little about what you went through? BP – So, the storm hit while we were in New Orleans. My landlord, out of the kindness of his heart, went over and put my furniture on cinder blocks. His name is Scott Williams; he did a lot for me. I ended up getting about two and a half feet of water. My car got water up to the windshield. Furniture, clothes…all that was damaged. But nothing you can’t replace. CB – And despite that, you’ve been doing a lot of volunteering, a lot of giving back. Tell me a little about what you’ve been doing. BP – Well, all credit goes to our community team; they made everything very easy. We got a chance to go over to the NRG Center and interact with some people affected by the hurricane. You start to see the effects and you see what people have lost. And we had other opportunities; I went to the Boys and Girls Club. I haven’t gotten to do too much; I’ve been trying to get my home base in order. CB – What drives you to want to give back to your community so soon after a natural disaster like this, especially while you are dealing with your own losses? BP – This whole thing puts everything into perspective. You learn what’s important and what’s not. At a time when the good people of Houston are hurting, it’s just a responsibility to give back. You have to take care of the people that have taken care of you. CB – One last question, Brian. You’re from up north. Born in Ohio, played in Illinois and in Canada. I imagine the transition to the South was a little difficult for you. After going through this experience, do you feel more connected now to the city of Houston and its people? BP – Definitely. I’ve bumped into so many random people lately that have heard my story. And just being associated with the Houston Texans, the community seems to embrace you. Houston is just good people. Every day that I’ve been here I’ve continued to get more comfortable and feel that I’m more a part of the community. 10 . 2017 | L O C A L 49