Texans running back Arian Foster will have to forego the rest of training camp and preseason as he goes under the knife to repair a torn groin muscle.
Foster suffered the injury on Monday, the first full pads day, on a passing play and could miss several regular season games. The franchsie has made no moves to bring any other backs in.
“We didn’t make a move immediately because we felt like we were OK,” Texans general manager Rick Smith said. “Chris Polk is on the mend and so hopefully he’ll be back soon. We’ll just keep adjusting to whatever happens out here on the field.”
After adding eight players in the 2012 NFL Draft last weekend, the Texans agreed to terms with 21 undrafted college free agents.
None of the signings are yet official, but among the most notable names are University of Houston quarterback Case Keenum, North Carolina wide receiver Dwight Jones and Oregon safety Eddie Pleasant.
“There were a couple of guys that we had draftable grades on,” Texans general manager Rick Smith said Tuesday in an . “The young man from Oregon, the safety (Pleasant), we even contemplated drafting him. There’s a nose tackle from BYU (Loni Fangupo) that we had really good grades on. The wide receiver from North Carolina (Jones). There’s some guys in this mix. Obviously, we took a quarterback that’s not too far from here (Keenum). So we have a group of players that we really felt great about. They will bolster that competition (on the roster).”
Pleasant (5-10, 211) was a two-year starter at Oregon. He began his career as a linebacker and emergency running back and finished it with All-Pac 12 first-team honors in 2011. He ran a 4.63 40-yard dash, had 22 bench press reps of 225 pounds and had a 33.5-inch vertical jump at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Fangupo (6-1, 323) played at USC in 2009 and 2010 before transferring to BYU. A 26-year-old, he served a two-year Mormon mission in the Philippines after graduating from high school in 2004. Fangupo put up 36 reps in the bench press at the Combine, tied for the third-most of any player this year.
Jones (6-3, 226) was second-team All-ACC as a senior in 2011, when he had 85 catches for 1,196 yards and 12 touchdowns. He had 62 catches for 946 yards in 2010 as the top target for Texans quarterback T.J. Yates. Jones ran a 4.55 40 and had a 33-inch vertical jump at the Combine.
Keenum (6-0, 208) set the NCAA career records in passing yards (18,685), passing touchdowns (152) and completions (1,501) at Houston. He had a 37-14 record as a starter. Keenum earned a sixth year of eligibility for the Cougars after tearing his ACL against UCLA in 2010 in the third game of the season.
Texans coach Gary Kubiak said he followed Keenum closely at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and at a subsequent workout two weeks later at nearby U of H.
“I watched him progress from one workout to the next,” Kubiak said. “And then when we brought him in here, it was our local workout, had the rest of the league seen that workout, there’s no doubt in my mind that he wouldn’t have been up there at the end of the draft. He worked out very well for me. Made adjustments during the workout when we asked him to do that. I just feel very fortunate to get him. I think he’s a talented young man. He’s very smart. He’s athletic, he can move, and that’s what we ask our guys to do.”
Signing undrafted free agents is a frenzied process that takes place immediately after the draft. Smith lauded the prep work done by the Texans’ front office.
“(Director of college scouting) Mike Maccagnan and the job he did with the college scouts was just incredible,” Smith said. “Then as the pro scouts and (director of pro personnel) Brian Gardner and his group came along, and obviously Gary (Kubiak) and the coaches, as they entered the process, I just thought the entire group did a tremendous job of working. That part of the draft can be chaotic, but I thought they did a great job of organizing it, between Mike and Chris Olsen, our vice president of football administration, of getting everything set up for that process. So the minute that the draft was over, when Mr. Irrelevant’s name was called, we got on that process.
“Because it was so organized, I really feel good about the group of college free agents that we signed.”
The Texans’ other undrafted free agents are wide receivers Mario Louis (Grambling) and Jerrell Jackson (Missouri), fullback Jason Ford (Illinois), running backs Davin Meggett (Maryland) and Jonathan Grimes (William Mary), inside linebackers Greg Williams (Pittsburgh) and Shawn Loiseau (Merrimack), outside linebackers Dalano Johnson (Bowie State) and D.J. Bryant (James Madison), safety Desmond Marrow (Toledo), tackle Nate Menkin (Mary Hardin-Baylor), guard Cody White (Illinois State), tight ends Phillip Supernaw (Ouachita Baptist) and Logan Brock (Texas Christian) and defensive ends David Hunter (Houston), Tracy Roberston (Baylor) and Rennie Moore (Clemson).
The Texans released wide receiver Jacoby Jones on Tuesday.
The move came days after the Texans selected wide receivers from Ohio State and Michigan State in the third and fourth rounds, respectively, of the 2012 NFL Draft. Jones was rumored to be on the trading block during the draft.
“We’ve added a couple of receivers to our team,” Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said Tuesday in his office at Reliant Stadium. “We’ve got a couple of kids that we think a lot of, being number one, and then also a lot of it’s about doing right Jacoby – our football team but doing right by him, too. [General manager] Rick [Smith] and I talked about it, and he’s handled himself with class.”
Jones, 27, started a career-high 10 games in 2011 with hobbled by hamstring injuries. He caught 31 passes for 512 yards (16.5 average) and two touchdowns, and he averaged 10.6 yards per punt return with a touchdown.
Jones was a scapegoat for many fans in Houston after fumbling a punt near the goal line in the Texans’ Divisional Round playoff loss at Baltimore.
“I think there’s way too much made out of that,” Kubiak said. “Andre missed 10 games last year and Jacoby was a starter in his absence and made a lot of plays for us, and Jacoby made a lot of special teams plays. We had many opportunities to win in Baltimore, and in this business, not one guy loses the game, not one guy wins the game. But it’s just a collective decision on where we’re heading with our young receivers, and also I feel like being very fair to Jacoby. That’s all this is about.”
A third-round draft pick out of Lane College in 2007, Jones started in 21 games in five seasons with the Texans. He had 127 catches for 1,741 yards (13.7 average) and 11 touchdowns. He averaged 10.2 yards on punt returns and 23.3 yards on kickoff returns and set a team record with four returns (three punt, one kickoff) for touchdowns.
Jones was plagued by fumbles on punt returns in his first three seasons and was in 2009. Kubiak kept Jones off the trip after he missed a Saturday morning team meeting, and the Texans wound up losing the game 23-18.
“We had a few rough patches early in his career with me, but he’s really grown up and done a good job,” Kubiak said. “To me, he’s been excellent the last couple of years. Played very well for us in Andre’s absence.
“We’ll move forward with our young players at receiver, and it’s a fair opportunity for Jacoby to go out there and get a fresh start somewhere else, and I’m sure he’ll go out and go a great job. I appreciate everything he did. Visited with him today, I wished him all the best and thanked him for everything he did for us.”