HOUSTON (FOX 26) -
Former Texans quarterback T.J. Yates could not be happier now that he will be playing for his hometown NFL team.
Yates went from thinking he had been released to being traded to the Atlanta Falcons, with the Texans receiving inside linebacker Akeem Dent in return.
"I was very down when I realized I was being let go, thought I was being let go," Yates said in an interview with FOX 26 Sports. "Then All of the sudden I'm
traded to my hometown team and I couldn't be happier now. It's a great situation for me and my wife. Both of our families are from Atlanta."
Yates had actually heard he might be traded on Wednesday.
"There was a little bit of talk about it during the day, but I didn't know to who," Yates said. "They were trying to move me because there was a lot of buzz going on that day. I hadn't been released yet so I knew they were trying to move me somewhere."
The last 48 hours for Yates have been interesting, to say the least.
"It was a whirlwind," Yates said. "It was a lot like a good part of my career, a lot of ups and downs, a lot of good times and bad moments in there. "
"Honestly, when you realize you're leaving a team that you've been with for so long and you create so many relationships with both players and coaches and fans and media personnel, it kind of hits you when you walk out of that building for the last time."
Yates was in Atlanta on Thursday for his physical and to meet his new coaches and teammates.
"I had a chance to meet with (head) Coach Mike Smith and with Dirk Koetter, the offensive coordinator, and Glenn Thomas, the quarterbacks coach," Yates said. "It was a great day going to Atlanta. I came right back (to Houston), but went to Atlanta real quick to meet all of my new coaches, see some of the guys on the team. They were just breaking for the summer as well. It was a good day.
"I got a day to get it out of my system. I couldn't be happier now that I'm a part of the Falcons organization."
When Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart were both out with injuries in 2011, Yates started five games as a rookie, winning two during the regular season, and he helped lead the Texans to their first victory in the playoffs.
"That seems like so long ago, my rookie year," Yates said. "I feel like that was forever ago. Looking back my rookie year is one I will never forget. The circumstances of me being able to play with Schaub and Leinart both going down and me coming in and the year that we had.
"The team I had around me to help me have success was obviously a huge part of it. For a rookie quarterback to be able to do things like that you have to have an amazing team around you to accomplish that. That's one of the things I'll remember, is my teammates. All of the guys that I poured my blood, sweat and tears into with day in and day out. It's obviously one of the hardest things to leave all of your good friends.
While Yates played in only seven games the past two seasons, he believes the experience he received his rookie season will be a big help going forward.
"I think it plays a huge part," Yates said. "One of the reasons that they brought me here to Atlanta was because I have that experience. I won a playoff game, won some games, started some games. I think that's what they were looking for on their roster. That experience that I've gone through, the bad and the good, all you do is learn from every situation that you're in.
"I've been though so many crazy situations in my short time in Houston. From playing as a rookie to having a great year to having a really down year. So many situations that help me grow as a player and as a person which I think I can take with me."
And Yates will be right back in Houston during the preseason when the Falcons practice against the Texans during the second week of the preseason, with the two teams playing at NRG Stadium on Aug. 16.
"That's going to be fun," Yates said. "It's going to be really weird, actually, to be walking out onto that field as an opponent. It's going to be really weird because I'm going to be seeing all of the same faces that I always see, my former teammates. It's going to be a weird moment.
"It'll be fun."
And Yates has a message for Texans fans.
"I'd just thank them for all of the support." Yates said. "It's been an amazing three years.
"I'm never going to forget the times that I had here, on and off the field. I'm really going to miss this town."