To say that Houston Texans linebacker Connor Barwin has high hopes for the upcoming season is an understatement. His eyes light up when he talks about the talent and the hope for the 2012 season.
Barwin is featured in this week's cover story on the Houston Web Awards, and lately he's been seen everywhere in Houston and in most every neighborhood. He's the huge guy with the tall hair who is almost always in the neon tank top. He was also our model for this week's cover. Check out the video below, a behind-the-scenes of the cover shoot.
As for the upcoming Texans season, everyone is healthy, some changes have been made and he's stopped thinking about last year's heartbreaking end. He instead wants to build on last year's momentum. Even Montrose hipsters were saddling up to their favorite bars every Sunday to watch the games.
After that division game loss to the Baltimore Ravens, you could hear every suburban home, neighborhood watch party and packed sports bar collectively groan in pain. Winning the AFC South was a thrill, injected excitement into the city and made the rest of the NFL take notice. The improbable run proved how much football can bring together the whole city. This season should be no different.
Barwin has embraced Houston with open arms and the city has responded in kind. He wants to stay in town, though in his business that's not solely up to him. He doesn't think Houston gets a fair shake when it comes to being a diverse community, but people are starting to notice. You can stay busy in Houston if you just keep your eyes open and explore.
"I would like to stay here for sure. I enjoy the city, and I am in a good situation. I would take the heat over the snow in Detroit," Barwin says.
Good call, dude, and a bold statement, given the current heatwave we have been having here since, like, forever.
On the next page, check out some of Barwin's favorite places to hang in Houston, when he's not on the football field, of course. And be sure to get your tickets for the Houston Web Awards ceremony, which is tomorrow night.
4. House Of Blues It's no secret that Barwin is a fan of live music, and the House of Blues off Caroline is one of his go-to venues, and not just because it's close to home. Acts like M83 have come through recently and Barwin has been there front and center. It doesn't hurt that one of his most-frequented bars, Reserve 101, is just across the street.
3. Discovery Green Barwin's highrise home is just blocks away from the park, and from his patio he can spy whatever is going on on the grass. He's been a very vocal fan of Discovery Green, and is a regular at most every function that goes down there, be it a concert by Houston indie bands or a Zumba! session. Just this past month, he discovered locals The Ton Tons at a Thursday night gig out there.
2. Under The Volcano Monday night's steak night with all the trimmings is a favorite with Barwin and some of his teammates. But that's not the only thing going for this Rice Village haunt. The frozen screwdrivers are worth the brain freeze, and the live music is always on point.
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1. Whole Foods (Waugh) Barwin is a fan of Monday afternoons at the boutique grocery store and bar. It's not hard to spend a few hundred bucks there on fresh meat, produce and craft beers.