HOUSTON — Texans coach Bill O’Brien downplayed the significance of a detailed memo the team issued to players advising them on travel tips for their upcoming trip to Mexico City to play the Oakland Raiders on Monday night.
Players were advised not to leave the team hotel or eat room service, according to a source not authorized to speak publicly. Players were instructed to only drink bottled water, avoid using ice, not bring expensive pieces of jewelry or large amounts of cash or use ATMs during the trip to Mexico.
“We’re taking our team to a unique, unfamiliar environment to play an NFL game where basically peak performance is a necessity,” O’Brien said. “So, it’s responsible for our organization to offer simple suggestions. Just like I’m sure whenever you guys probably travel abroad, out of the country, I’m sure they give you simple suggestions too as to how to travel and things like that. That’s what we’re doing and that’s about all I’m going to say about that memo or whatever it is.”
O’Brien emphasized that the Texans are treating this game as a business trip and are going to Mexico intent on winning a football game.
“We’re getting ready to play an NFL game,” O’Brien said. “Fun is winning. That’s what’s fun.”
If the Texans need a translator, they already have one on their roster and starting lineup.
Texans left guard Xavier Su’a-Filo speaks Spanish fluently and says he’s happy to assist any teammates who need a hand talking with locals during this international game.
During two years of Mormon mission work in a hiatus from school after starting as a true freshman for UCLA, Su’a-Filo rode a specialized bicycle capable of supporting his massive body. The former Parade Magazine prep All-American spent his time reaching out to the Hispanic population in Tallahassee, Fla., and Mobile, Ala., with his knack for Spanish serving him and those communities well.
“I would say I pass as fluent for sure,” Su’a-Filo said. “I’m constantly trying to review words, you know, obviously I was immersed in the language there. That was part of my mission was speaking the language and learning it and interacting amongst the Hispanic community.
“Since I don’t have that every day, I always try to practice when I can, review when I can, call people from my mission and just stuff like that.”