Chris Conley isn’t involved in a grudge match. There were no hard feelings when he left the Jacksonville Jaguars after two seasons to join the Texans on a one-year, $1.5 million contract that’s fully guaranteed.
Still, it will be somewhat emotional for the veteran wide receiver to play against his old team Sunday in the season opener at NRG Stadium.
Both teams are extremely different with new quarterbacks and new head coaches in Tyrod Taylor and David Culley and Trevor Lawrence and Urban Meyer, respectively.
“It’s just my second time facing a former team in the first game,” said Conley, who began his career with the Kansas City Chiefs as a third-round draft pick from Georgia. “I think it creates a unique headspace. I’m excited always to play in the first game of the year, but especially playing against a team that you were on and seeing guys you were with for two years, it’s going to be a lot of fun.
“The preparation, I don’t think that that’s changed. It’s always been a focus on getting better each day and stacking hay so that you can cash in on Sunday. But when you play against guys that you know, it always brings a little something extra.”
Conley caught 40 passes for 471 yards and two touchdowns on 63 targets last season. In 31 games with the Jaguars and 18 starts over the past two seasons, he caught 87 passes for 1,246 yards and seven touchdowns.
Conley made his debut with the Jaguars against his former team in 2019 and caught six passes for 97 yards and a touchdown in a 40-26 loss.
“For sure. I think every team every year is a new team, regardless of coaching staff, player changes,” said Conley, one of 31 new players on a roster significantly overhauled by general manager Nick Caserio. “You see how the team is different here this year, and we’ve had coaching staff and personnel changes. The Jags definitely will be a different team. They have some core players that they return, but every year our team has a new identity.”
If asked, Conley will impart what knowledge he has about the Jaguars’ personnel and schemes.
“I have experience with some of the guys there, and if they ask me questions, I’ll do my best to answer them,” Conley said. “But at the end of the day, that’s part of the reason why they’re coaches. They’ve been scouting them this whole time. They’ve been watching every rep that they’ve had. So, if there’s anything that I can shed a light on, I’ll try to do that. But I feel like they have a solid plan in place already, and I’ll just do whatever I can to help and be ready to play.”
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.