Jonathan Owens doesn’t have to look far to find inspiration and motivation for his job as a Texans’ safety and special-teams contributor.
Owens’ girlfriend is Olympic gold medalist gymnast Simone Biles. He’s attempted some of her gymnastics training routines and found himself a bit overmatched when trying to contort his body to an elite level of flexibility balance and power.
“Great woman, she motivates me more,” Owens said. “It makes me want to go even harder. I’ve tried gymnastics a couple of times. I’m not going back. I thought I was an athletic. It humbled me.”
Owens is one of the most athletic players on the Texans’ roster.
The 5-foot-10, 210-pound former undrafted free agent from Missouri State has run the 40-yard dash in 4.44 seconds and posted a 43-inch vertical leap with an 11-foot broad jump and bench pressed 225 pounds 18 times.
“He’s athletic and he knows how to move,” said Biles, whose relationship with Owens became Instagram official in August 2020.
Owens was on the Texans’ active gameday roster last season for six games after a series of promotions from the practice squad. He played 20 percent of the Texans’ special-teams snaps and 11 snaps on defense. Since signing with the Arizona Cardinals initially out of college, Owens has also played cornerback. The Texans like Owens’ versatility.
“I see a very athletic safety that has come from Arizona playing the nickel, playing corner, playing safety,” Texans safeties coach Greg Jackson said. “He’s another guy that can play multiple positions. I really like his athletic ability. He’s a smart player. He’s very studious in the classroom. He asks a bunch of questions.
“One of the things about Jonathan is that we’re trying to put him at one position and see if he can be consistent at that one position because we see all the athletic ability, it’s just a matter of giving him the opportunity to play that one position and improve each and every day.”
In college, Owens was a second-team all-conference and all-academic selection who had 95 tackles and two interceptions in his final season.
“I’m excited,” Owens said. “I’m always excited to learn new things. My first reaction from the coaches has been nothing but good vibes. They’re teaching me a lot. My position coach played 12 years in the league. I can learn a lot from him. He understands. He teaches us. I respond well to it.”
Aaron Wilson has covered the NFL for 20 seasons, including the Texans, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars. He has previously written for The Houston Chronicle and The Baltimore Sun. He’s on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL and Instagram: @aaronwilson7128.