When the Texans signed inside linebacker Benardrick McKinney to a $51 million contract this year, he wanted to justify the investment and the faith that coach Bill O’Brien and general manager Brian Gaine had placed in him.
The contract included $21 million guaranteed.
McKinney has lived up to the deal, leading the Texans with 96 tackles and operating as their defensive signal caller. He was named to his first Pro Bowl on Tuesday night
“It’s a great honor, OB, Brian Gaine, all those guys trusted me to pay me that type of money,” McKinney said. “I’m trying to show them that it was a good reason they did it for. I’m just trying to be a good teammate, a great inside linebacker and trying to prove it every day.”
McKinney was caught off guard when he was named to the Pro Bowl despite having a strong season for the AFC South leaders. He learned that he made the annual all-star game by watching television.
“I really wasn’t even thinking about it, to be honest,” McKinney said. “I ended up getting a lot of texts and seeing it on social media and I seen it on TV. I was happy, I was proud. It’s a great feeling.
“It’s a great honor. I want to thank the fans. I want to thank the coaches, thank everybody for voting for me.”
McKinney was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct Saturday during a win over the New York Jets. He took off his helmet on the field and was visibly upset following a touchdown.
“I was just in the moment,” he said. “I was a little upset. Things happen. I just got to play with a little more poise.”
McKinney hasn’t heard from the NFL on if he’ll be fined.
“I ain’t got no letter in my locker yet,” he said. “Hopefully, not.”