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Players report to Reliant eager to get back on field

Posted Jul 31, 2011

The Texans reported to Reliant Stadium on Sunday for physicals and team meetings on the eve of 2011 training camp.


The Texans reported to Reliant Stadium on Sunday for physicals and team meetings on the eve of 2011 training camp.

“It’s football time,” wide receiver Jacoby Jones said. “The lockout’s over, I’m back around my teammates and everybody’s got smiles on their faces.”

The Texans’ first practice of camp is on Monday morning at 8 a.m. The first practice open to fans will be on Saturday, Aug. 6.

“We’re ready to get back to it,” right tackle Eric Winston said. “Everyone has had a long summer and everyone is excited. Getting to see the new guys and meeting them and everything like that, I think everyone is excited to get back on the field.”

Leach to the Ravens
Free agent fullback Vonta Leach agreed to a contract with the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday afternoon. The 2010 Pro Bowler had been with the Texans since 2006 and helped Arian Foster win the league rushing title last season.

“My time in Houston was great, thank my teammates, my fans,” Leach said on Twitter.

Before that announcement, Winston chimed in about Leach’s role in the offense last season.

“He was a guy that brought it every game,” Winston said. “He was definitely a meaningful part of our offense last year. We’re all hoping that he comes back, but we also know the situation we’re always in, too. You can’t always have everything you want. Obviously, with our situation, you’ve got to make certain priorities a priority… If he’s not there this year, then someone else is going to have to step up and be that guy.”

Tight end James Casey, Leach’s backup for the last two seasons, could be an option to replace him. The Texans also have two undrafted free agent fullbacks in Bubba Bartlett and Zach Pauga.

Health check
---
Inside linebacker DeMeco Ryans said that he doesn't have any reservations about returning to the field on Monday. The two-time Pro Bowler was medically cleared on July 19 after missing the final 10 games of last season with a torn left Achilles tendon.

“I'm good,” Ryans said. “We'll get back on the field tomorrow and I'll see what I can do… I haven’t tackled anybody all summer, so that’ll be something new that I add in there. Other than that, as far as running, shuffling and changing direction, everything’s been going good throughout the summer.”

---Wide receiver Andre Johnson reported that his right ankle is 100 percent healthy after he had arthroscopic surgery in the offseason. Johnson played with a painful high-ankle sprain for most of the 2010 season.

“It feels good,” he said. “My first time running, it felt kind of weird. It felt like one leg was heavier than the other because I was so used to running with a brace on, but I feel great now. Training down at 'The U,' (University of Miami strength and conditioning coach Andreu) Swasey got me back feeling to my old self, so I feel good. I’m ready to go.”

Quotable
“Of course I’m returning punts. Why wouldn’t I do that? That’s what I love doing the most. Whatever they need me to do, if I have to go block a field goal or punt that thing, I’m going to go do it.”
- WR Jacoby Jones, on if he’ll still return punts this season

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