Houston Texans founder, chairman and CEO Bob McNair on the passing of Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis:
“Al Davis was a pioneer in the American Football League and National Football League. He was a dynamic force in merging the National Football League and American Football League. He built a great tradition with the Raiders. We are going to miss his innovative thinking. Our condolences go to his family and the Raiders organization.”
Cornerback , who missed the first two preseason games with a groin injury, returned to practice on Monday at the Methodist Training Center.
The former Cincinnati Bengals starter is expected to make his Texans debut on Saturday at San Francisco.
“He looked great during camp, and obviously the groin has held him up a little bit,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. “He was back out today. We’ll pick it up each day with him and hopefully he’s ready to carry his load on Saturday night, but he needs to play. It’s very important.
“At the same time… I don’t think you throw him out there and play him three quarters. We’ll see how he practices throughout the week.”
A sixth-year veteran, Joseph said that he doesn’t think the injury set him back because he was able to take mental reps from the sideline.
“Things are moving fine, right on schedule where we wanted to be,” he said. “I’m looking forward to practicing and playing Saturday… You always want to shake off the rust a little bit.”
Troops at practice The Texans had about 25 troops from the USO as guests at practice on Monday. Players, assistant coaches, Kubiak, general manager Rick Smith, vice chairman Cal McNair and chairman Bob McNair greeted them individually after practice as they walked off the field.
Several players signed autographs and posed for pictures in addition to thanking the troops for their service.
“We’re always grateful for what they do for us, and in return, we give them a little bit of entertainment to take their minds off of what’s going on in their lives,” Foster said. “I’m happy to be a part of that and put a smile on people’s faces for a short while.”
Health check Along with Joseph, running back (concussion) and wide receiver (hamstring) also returned to the field for the Texans’ light, no-pads practice on Monday.
Inside linebacker sat out with a sore shoulder, but Kubiak said he isn’t worried about the two-time Pro Bowler’s recovery.
“I think it’s just taking some time,” Kubiak said. “It got really swollen on him and (he’s) just getting the flexibility back and going through the rehab process. We were being smart last week. Today, we didn’t do much at all. It’ll be day-to-day with him, but I don’t have any doubt that he will be back sometime soon.”
Wide receiver also was not on the field Monday. The promising undrafted rookie from Florida Atlantic injured his shoulder against the Saints on Saturday.
“He’s got a pretty banged up shoulder,” Kubiak said. “They’re in an evaluation process right now. You’re not going to see him out here in the next couple days, but we should know more here toward the end of this week.”
Quotable “If that’s what the head man says, that’s what the head man says. I’m a chess piece. If Bobby Fischer tells me to go, I’m gonna go.” – RB , on head coach Gary Kubiak saying that the Texans’ starters will play for three quarters against San Francisco
Following are statements from Houston Texans Chairman/CEO Bob McNair, who spoke to reporters on a conference call Thursday evening regarding the NFL labor situation.
(Opening statement) “I’m pleased to report that the definitive agreement that we’ve negotiated with the union, the owners approved it today by a vote of 31, with one abstention, and I’m quite pleased. It’s a 10-year agreement. It deals with a number of issues that I think are important to us and important to the players and it will be for a 16-game season. The players were not ready to look at an 18-game season. We’d said all along we weren’t going to try to go to 18 games without player approval, and so that was the case.
“In terms of some of the offseason work, that will be reduced. We’ve addressed a number of the health and safety issues, so all in all, I think we have something that gives a lot to the players and at the same time, gives us some of the things that we needed, so we’ve got a business model that we think will work for the next 10 years and we’re excited about it. We’re sorry that our fans had to go through this whole process with us, but unfortunately, that’s just part of the deal. We’re anxious to get our players back in and get them on the field and start an exciting season.”
(on the salary cap and the salary floor under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement) “The salary cap is $142.4 and the floor changes over time, but basically it’s about 95 percent of the cap is what it will average, so everybody will be pretty much in the same pay range.”
(on whether he expects the Texans players to be in the team’s facility on Saturday) “I think that the players would come in probably about three days after the union has approved the deal and signed off on it, so probably sometime next week, but it all hinges on when the union approves it, so we’re waiting on them.”
(on when free agency begins and whether the roster size will increase) “We didn’t get into the roster limit at this point in time, but what we will be doing is next week, probably sometime during next week, we’ll start signing college draft picks that we’ve made and our own unrestricted free agents, and then it will be after that that the regular free agency will open up. (Texans senior director of media relations) Kevin (Cooper) has got the calendar, so what you’ve got to do is just look at the calendar, and the starting time is when the union signs. That’s when the clock starts, so until they do that, the clock won’t start, but hopefully the whole process will be starting next week.”
(on if the whole process was worth it and if he felt like the owners did well in the negotiation process) “There were a lot of things we needed addressed and many of them did get addressed. We didn’t get everything we wanted and the players didn’t get everything they wanted. We got enough modifications in there so that we have a business model that will work for the next ten years. It’s set up so that there’s incentive for us to go ahead and invest in the teams, invest in the stadiums and those are the things we have to do to keep an attractive game for our fans. They want to be in a nice environment; they need nice facilities, nice venues in order to do that.”
(on if there is lingering resentment between the players and owners, given some of the things said by both sides during the lockout) “I think you just don’t pay attention to that. I don’t pay any attention to it and I hope the players don’t. We’re looking forward to seeing our players. I’ve missed them and I know they miss being in our facility. I think everybody will be quite happy that we’re all back at work.”