The NFL draft gets all man-huggy while Texans introduce Whitney Mercilus to fans
As new Texan Whitney Mercilus posed for pictures with defensive coordinator Wade Phillips at Reliant Stadium, the old coach couldn't help himself.
"Do I need to hug him like the commish?" Phillips asked, sly grin spreading across his face.
Yes, it doesn't matter where you were for the first day of the 2012 NFL Draft, or what perspective you watched it from — from your couch, in an NFL team's "war room" or at a draft party — the enduring, unforgettable images seem to be commissioner Roger Goodell's over-the-top hugs of the selections who took the stage in New York. Forget that whole Andrew Luck/Robert Griffin III debate. Or the Dallas Cowboys' jumping up to No. 6 and apparently nearly causing Rob Ryan to soil his pants. Or any of the other trade drama.
Can you imagine Bud Selig trying to pull off any type of hug that didn't immediately qualify as one of the most awkward hugs in human history?
Did you see the commissioner's crazy, premeditated, secret handshake with San Diego Chargers draft pick Melvin Ingram? Or any of the other hugs Goodell pulled off? (The Ingram handshake ended in an embrace too, of course). The NFL commissioner is more touchy feely than Sofia Vergara in Modern Family at the NFL Draft.
There is nothing wrong with showing some love for your fellow man. It's just not what people expect from the leader of the No Fun League — or any major professional sports league for that matter. Can you imagine Bud Selig trying to pull off any type of hug that didn't immediately qualify as one of the most awkward hugs in human history?
For the record, Phillips and Mercilus didn't hug — at least not for the cameras.
The Texans are more than happy to have the nation's sack leader in the fold, but this wise-cracking, tight-knit Bulls On Parade defense does things a little differently than Goodell.
"He's a very easygoing young man. Easygoing along with hard working."
"I’ve seen that they’ve tweeted (at) me and called me The Rookie,” Mercilus laughed. "So I'm excited to meet them."
“They can’t wait for those rookies to get in," Phillips said. "They want a free meal."
For the 21-year-old Mercilus, fitting in with the Bulls On Parade and having an impact is about providing for his own family. His parents — Wilner and Yvrose — and his younger sister and brother all sat in front row of Mercilus' first press conference as a Texan.
Wilner and Yvrose immigrated from Haiti and took on a host of jobs to get themselves established in America and give their kids a chance at a better life.
"He's a very easygoing young man," Wilner Mercilus said, the former New York city cab driver seemingly unfazed by being surrounded by a crowd of sports reporters and TV cameras. "Easygoing along with hard working."
Sounds like a perfect Bull On Parade. Connor Barwin, Shaun Cody and Antonio Smith would hardly be described as high-stress individuals. Or Phillips himself for that matter. Rather than make hokey proclamations about his pre-draft dreams like the Cowboys defensive coordinator, the Texans defensive leader entertains with his sharp, dry wit.
Mercilus isn't getting a hug. At least not until he makes a big play. But Phillips did make sure the new Texan left Reliant with something.
"He'll have a playbook before he leaves here," Phillips cracked.