HOUSTON – The Texans held their inaugural Season Premiere red carpet event Saturday night with all proceeds benefiting their charitable foundation.
It was attended by chairman and CEO Cal McNair, his wife, Hannah McNair, the vice president of the team’s foundation, coach Lovie Smith and his wife, MaryAnne Smith, Texans general manager Nick Caserio and his wife, Kathleen Caserio, Texans team president Greg Grissom and his wife, Jamie Grissom, Texans players, staff and fans.
“It’s exciting,” Greg Grissom said. “We talked a lot about evolving this year, and this is another example of that. Our kickoff luncheon we’ve had for years, we wanted to do something different.We turned it into Season Premiere. We’ve raised double the amount of money we’ve raised for that event going to our Champions for Youth causes. It’s an exciting night.
“We’re evolving. We’re trying new things. We’re getting better, just like the football team. We’ve learned a lot. We’ll keep refining. Hopefully, our fans are really excited about the season.”
The event was a sell-out.
“Raise some money for a good cause, Champions for Youth, that’s what we believe in,” Cal McNair said. “It’s a combination of coming together with our fans, with our players and having fun and doing good things for Houston. It sold out, it’s very positive. It’s a fun night to connect with the fans. It’s part of our evolution that we’re trying new things. It was Hannah and some others’ idea to try a new thing, a nighttime event and it’s taken off.”
“I think it’s incredible,” Hannah McNair said. “It’s exciting. Trying something new is scary, but you can see it’s really come together. My co-chairs have been amazing from Cal’s mom to Kathleen Caserio, Jamie Grissom and MaryAnne Smith, it’s really been incredible. We’ve had a lot of fun.”
The event, presented by Amegy Bank, included casino-style games with players and a meal from James Beard Award winning chef Robert Del Grande, who recently appeared on KPRC-2 with Hannah McNair to preview the Season Premiere.
“It’s great,” Lovie Smith said. “We have a bunch of special men. We want them to give back to the community and be involved. There’s a lot of football things going on. To be able to get away from that for one night, it’s pretty special.”
The event was co-chaired by Texans co-founder Janice McNair, Hannah McNair, Kathleen Caserio and Jamie Grissom.
“It’s lovely,” MaryAnne Smith said. “We really appreciate all the support we’ve had. We’ve sold out. We’re very happy with that. It’s important for all of our businesses to give back to the community.
This was the first big event for Texans first-round draft pick Kenyon Green, a former Texas A&M and Atascosita High School standout.
“It’s truly a blessing,” Green said. “To be able to show my face and show how much I care about the foundation, I’m glad I’m here. It’s great, especially coming in as a rookie coming into to help the city of Houston. It’s cool. You get to see how people dress up and everything.”
Defensive tackle Roy Lopez rocked a black suit and matching Cowboy hat.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “These things are fun. It gives us an opportunity to dress up, be together. Nobody is going to rock the cowboy hat like I am.”
Texans quarterback Davis Mills emphasized the charity aspect and the camaraderie of the event.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “It’s exciting, doing something different with the guys. You get to see the true side of them that you don’t see when you’re in pads. The team itself, has gotten more connected. The feeling in the locker room is everyone is willing to do whatever to help our their teammates. We’re really excited with what we’ve got going on this year.”
Raising money for the foundation was the primary reason for holding the event.
“I think Houston is kind of built on that, helping each other and being there for each other,” center Justin Britt said. “Any chance we get to kind of give back and to benefit others, it’s always a privilege.”
Aaron Wilson is a Pro Football Network reporter and a contributor to KPRC 2 and click2houston.com