Since tweeting out a photo in a mall, waiting for his wife to go perfume shopping, quarterback Kirk Cousins has had a significantly less boring last couple of weeks. It began with a trip to the Pro Bowl, where he replaced Aaron Rodgers and nearly led a comeback for the NFC after several days of enjoying the Orlando, Fla., weather and star-studded atmosphere.
Then it continued this past week, in Houston, Texas, for Super Bowl LI week, where Cousins joined the festivities for a few days, navigating the responsibilities of promoting brands, answering multitudes of the same questions and trying to have fun, too.
More specifically, Cousins entered the Geroge R. Brown Convention center, the site where NFL stars, legends, media and the fans all converge, to throw around Snickers bars, teach kids how to throw footballs better, discuss how cute puppies are at The Puppy Bowl, and rattle off numerous variations of the same answer when it comes to his looming free agency. He also became extremely animated when it came to a flag football game.
Because Cousins was so busy, and because it's hard to keep track of what is happening during Super Bowl week, even for those attending, here is a comprehensive account of most of the things that the Michigan State product said, did and attended in Houston during the past week.
Naturally, Cousins made one of his first stops with the ESPN 980 crew, featuring Brian Mitchell and Rick "Doc" Walker, and jumped right into the contract talks.
"It's unique for there to be a quarterback that goes to the Pro Bowl and is looking at free agency," Cousins said. "That just doesn't happen very often but I'm excited for what lies ahead. As I've said before the ball is in the Redskins court. They're going to make the decisions that they want to make and Ill react accordingly. It's great to be here live at a lot of great events this week and sounds cliché but we have to get here as a team. Get here as Redskins fans expect and are used to from the 80s and the early 90s. That's what we are chasing and it's a bit bittersweet being around here and going to all the different events looking at Matt Ryan and Tom Brady on billboards.
"I think that's the benefit that the long term deal is," he added. "Okay I'm the guy I got full freedom to lead and full freedom to be the guy and make this mine. To get that permission if you will is where the leash comes off and you're able to fully go. I'm excited for that day to come whether it comes this year or down the road."
Cousins went down to the first floor of the NFL experience and talked with hosts from NFL Network. There was more promotion of The Puppy Bowl, but plenty of time for contract talk.
"Well I think the first big date is March 1st because that's when the Redskins can choose to franchise tag me or not," Cousins said. "Based on what they do I'll play off of them but it's hard to really look past that because you feel like that kind of sets up the rest of the road. Wherever I am I'm excited about the opportunity to play and compete. Every year I've played I feel like there has been continuous improvement in a lot of areas so excited to take another step forward in 2017 and hopefully be here this weekend playing and not doing interviews."
CBS Sports Jim Rome:
After debating about the merits of playing hard in the Pro Bowl, Rome asked Cousins on the CBS Sports stage about how he feels during another uncertain offseason.
"The franchise tag makes things unique, because if they tag me, then that sets the stage and changes the dynamics and it's a one year deal," Cousins said. "As I did last year, I'd sign it and be happy about that. Ultimately you can play on the franchise tag, and if you're good enough on the tag and deserve a long-term deal, then it will happen. Eventually, it has to. If you're not, you probably didn't deserve one all along. So, I just feel like I can play it out and let things run the course that they will, and if I belong, I belong, and if I don't, I don't. But that's the course I've taken."
CBS Sports Doug Gottlieb:
Just like Rome, Gottlieb pressed Cousins on his strip fumble of Aqib Talib in the Pro Bowl, made banter about foster dogs and puppies and then got down to the contract situation. What would be a reasonable offer for Cousins?
"I think my agent and the team will talk about what's reasonable, but more than anything you just want to feel wanted. It's not always about the money, it's what the money represents. If they tag me, like I said last year, I would feel wanted. They're not going to tag you if they don't want you back.
Brian Kilmeade spoke to Cousins early in the morning about The Puppy Bowl, but before the segment ended asked Cousins about if he could have imagined that he would be the starting quarterback of the Redskins once he joined the same team as Robert Griffin III in 2012.
"If anything, I thought I'd be traded to go somewhere else," Cousins said. "I'm living a dream. I'm shocked that I'm still in Washington, but it's been a great experience for me and hopefully I can be there for a long time to come."
As for what will be his fate – a long-term deal or the franchise tag – Cousins suggested both.
"Time will tell, maybe both, I might get franchised and maybe work out a long-term deal," Cousins said. "But March 1 is the first date when I would get tagged and it will be a very telling date."
Once he had completed his interviews for the day on Thursday, Cousins put on his brand ambassador hat. He began going around to every media table and handed (well, mostly threw) out Snickers for everyone. I don't know what Cousins has planned in terms of advertising his new role with the candy bar, but if he lands some kind of commercial, who would be the whiny actor that portrays him when he's hungry?
The Puppy Bowl:
Cousins finally got a chance to break away from the convention center and headed out to the Animal Planet activation, where a preview of The Puppy Bowl took place. Cousins had the chance to cuddle with some of the pups and told the crowd gathered outside about his dog adoption process with his wife. Redskins.com caught up with him there and asked more about his social media usage and his love for the foster puppies.
Cousins also participated in a Celebrity Sweat football game and got so spiritedn that he pushed a referee for not calling a delay of game on the defense. But, of course, Super Bowl week wouldn't be complete unless Cousins had the opportunity to hold a baby.