Case Keenum teaches at QBU football camp, reflects on ‘hope’ surrounding Texans, C.J. Stroud, Davis Mills’ qualities

Veteran quarterback, former UH standout ‘emotional’ to be back with Texans: ‘I love this place, I love this city, I love the Texans. I know the heartbreak the city has gone through.’

Case Keenum (Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – Case Keenum scanned the field Saturday, watching a group of young quarterbacks aiming the football toward nets and moving targets during an accuracy drill.

And the Texans’ veteran quarterback and former University of Houston standout smiled as he imparted wisdom and taught the game and life lessons at his QBU youth football camp with assistance from the Coogs’ quarterbacks. Mentoring and giving back is part of his job description as a backup for the Texans after signing a two-year, $6.25 million contract this offseason that includes $4 million guaranteed.

For Keenum, 35, returning to the Texans wasn’t a difficult or business-only decision. It was a move born out of belief and hope and wanting to help lift the AFC South franchise back to winning after going 11-38-1 during three consecutive losing seasons during which relevance was lost and apathy set in.

The Texans are optimistic about their future following an offseason headlined by hiring former Pro Bowl linebacker DeMeco Ryans, overhauling the roster with key veteran additions and drafting quarterback C.J. Stroud and defensive end Will Anderson Jr. in the first round.

“When my agents told me that Houston was on the line, man, it’s emotional thinking about coming back,” said Keenum, a native of Brownwood, Texas who has also played for the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Washington, Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Rams. “It’s so special. I love this place. I love this city. I love the Texans. I’ve kept up since I left and I know the heartbreak the city has gone through. I see it. I see it in my friends who are here. I see it in my community I see it in the stands and I know that they’re looking for hope, they’re looking for a future.

“Seeing DeMeco, seeing the staff he’s put in place, seeing what the McNairs have done in the building with support staff, facilities the amount of support staff, basically ‘Y’all go get it and do it, all holds barred, lets go.’ That place is a different place. The food, I’m telling you right now, the cafeteria, it kicks anybody in the country’s butt. It’s so good. The nutrition staff, strength staff, support staff, training room, the football staff what we’re doing on the football side with (offensive coordinator) Bobby (Slowik) it’s really exciting.”

An all-time NCAA leader for passing yards, touchdowns and completions at UH, Keenum has passed for 14,884 career yards, 78 touchdowns and 48 interceptions in the NFL and rushed for 450 yards and six touchdowns.

He’s played a lot of football and watched a lot of football. And he’s impressed with Stroud and incumbent starter Davis Mills, who are competing for the QB1 job.

“C.J., coming in here, II guess he’s been there three weeks maybe, I would never know that,” Keenum said. “I would have thought he’s been here a year, been in the league four or five year vet. Being able to call plays for a guy, who has no-huddled in college and has come in and run a pro-style offense that’s wordy, there’s a lot more than that to operate and be extremely accurate and a lot of zip on the ball and great feet. Under-center stuff, he’s not afraid to try new things and has jumped right in.”

Mills had an up-and-down season last year as the offense generally struggled under former offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton with the exception of Pro Bowl alternate running back Dameon Pierce. Mills has looked sharp during organized team activities.

“Davis, I didn’t watch a ton of his game, but that guy can sling it, he really can, Davis can absolutely sling it,” Keenum said. “He’s an athlete. I have been very impressed. Jumping in, seeing what he’s able to do, the leadership that he has, the relatability to everybody on the team. He has done so well.”

What about rookie wide receiver Tank Dell, a third-round draft pick from UH?

“I’m excited about him,” Keenum said. “Houston should be, too.”

Keenum went 0 and 8 as the starter for the Texans in 2013, but won two games in a row as a replacement for Ryan Fitzpatrick when he broke his leg.

Traded to the Bills last year from the Browns for a seventh-round draft pick, Keenum spent last season in Buffalo. He played in two games.

Giving back to the game is something that brings Keenum a lot of joy.

“It’s been awesome, so much fun,” Keenum said. “Getting with the UH quarterbacks, so much fun, got to hang with them and throw the ball around a little bit. We had a pretty good showing, working with all ages of kids. It’s always fun to be back at UH. We’re called to do our very best. I tried to win that skills challenge, I didn’t today Taking care of the football is responsibility, our No. 1 job as a quarterback.

“I’ve played a lot of ball. Putting together this camp and putting together the curriculum for it, it was cool. It’s a blast to pay it forward. I had incredible older players when I was first coming out here. Kevin Kolb was one of those guys. Paying it forward, what he’s taught me, Matt Schaub, the Ryan Fitzpatricks of the world, they’ve had so much success. I don’t take it for granted and do it the right way. Being able to instill and impart a little bit of that knowledge, that wisdom I’ve been taught to the next generation, it’s priceless.”

Aaron Wilson is a Texans and NFL reporter for KPRC 2 and

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