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Larry Izzo
Special Teams

Larry Izzo enters his second season as special teams coordinator for the Houston Texans. The 2017 season marks his seventh as a coach in the NFL after a 14-year playing career.

Larry Izzo enters his second season as special teams coordinator for the Houston Texans. The 2017 season marks his seventh as a coach in the NFL after a 14-year playing career. In Izzo's first season with Houston, veteran K Nick Novak turned in the signature year of his career and one of the best seasons in franchise history. Novak tied for second in the NFL with 35 field made field goals, which marked his career high and the most in a single season in Texans history. He connected on 16 consecutive field goals from Weeks 11-16, which tied for second in franchise history, and his 127 total points were the fourth-highest total in team history.

P Shane Lechler added to his storied career by posting the second-highest single-season gross punting average (47.5) in franchise history and finishing the regular season with just three touchbacks on punts – the lowest total of his 17-year career. Lechler was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his Week 8 performance against Detroit in which he averaged a season-high 49.5 yards per punt and pinned three inside the 20-yard line.

Rookie WR Will Fuller V also earned AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors in Week 4 after taking his first career punt return 67 yards for a touchdown that lifted the Texans to a 27-20 win over Tennessee. Fellow rookie RB Tyler Ervin, the primary kick and punt returner most of the season, finished third in the AFC and eighth in the NFL in punt return average (9.7) among qualified players.

Izzo joined the Texans after spending five seasons (2011-15) as the assistant special teams coach with the New York Giants, where he was a part of the team’s Super Bowl XLVI victory. In 2015, the Giants finished second in the Dallas Morning News’ annual comprehensive ranking of the league’s special teams. The unit ranked fifth in opponent kickoff return average (20.3) and tied for first in field goal percentage (93.8). New York was also seventh in the NFL in punt return average (10.2) and 10th in kickoff return average (24.9).

The Giants’ kickoff team allowed an average return of just 18.3 yards in 2014, which ranked second in the NFL, and their opponents’ drives following a kickoff started on average at the 20.9-yard line, which was eighth in the NFL.

In 2012, the special teams made significant contributions to the Giants’ winning season and finished seventh in the Dallas Morning News’ annual ranking. The Giants led the NFL with five special teams takeaways and their average drive start following a kickoff was at the 25.2-yard line, which led the NFL. The Giants also averaged 26.2 yards per kickoff return, which placed them seventh in the NFL.

In 2011, Izzo’s first season with the Giants, he won his fourth Super Bowl ring and first as a coach. He also helped develop a group of rookies who quickly became outstanding special teams players, including Mark Herzlich, Spencer Paysinger, Tyler Sash and Jacquian Williams.

In his 14-year NFL career (1996-2009), Izzo played for three teams, including the Miami Dolphins (1996-2000), New England Patriots (2001-08) and New York Jets (2009). He was a three-time Super Bowl champion with New England (2001, 2003 and 2004) and a three-time Pro Bowler (2000, 2002 and 2004). He was also credited with 275 special teams tackles in 200 regular season games and 23 more in 21 postseason games. Izzo never played on a team with a losing record and his teams participated in the playoffs nine times, reaching five AFC Championship Games and four Super Bowls. His teammates selected him as a special teams captain nine times, including eight with the Patriots.

Izzo, who is considered one of the best special teams players in NFL history, began his career in 1996 as an undrafted free agent with the Miami Dolphins. He made such a rapid and positive impact that in the preseason, Head Coach Jimmy Johnson said only two players were guaranteed to make the team – future Hall of Fame QB Dan Marino and Izzo.

In 1999, Izzo led the Dolphins with a career-high 33 special teams tackles and was elected special teams captain. In 2000, his final season in Miami, Izzo earned his first Pro Bowl selection after finishing with a team-high 31 special teams tackles.

In his first season with the Patriots in 2001, Izzo was voted special teams captain for the first of eight consecutive seasons. He led the unit with 22 tackles and helped New England defeat St. Louis in Super Bowl XXXVI. Izzo led New England with 31 and 28 special teams tackles, respectively, to help the Patriots win two more Super Bowls. Izzo missed only one game from 2000-08 and is a member of the Patriots’ All-2000’s team.

Izzo, who is from Fort Belvoir, Va., was a four-year letterman and three-year starter at Rice University in Houston, where he played linebacker and finished fourth in school history with 301 tackles, including a record 46 for losses. As a senior captain, he had 121 tackles and was named a consensus first-team All-Southwest Conference selection. He graduated in 2002 with a degree in business.

At McCullough High School in Houston, Izzo played safety and running back. The Houston Chronicle named him the two-way player of the year as a senior after he tallied 131 tackles and two interceptions on defense and contributed 1,081 yards rushing on offense.

In 2005, Izzo and Warrick Dunn participated in a USO tour to visit troops stationed overseas. They began their trip at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, where they helped open the Pat Tillman USO Center, then spent time with troops in Baghdad, Kuwait and Qatar.

The 42-year-old Izzo and his wife, Mara, have a son, Boston.

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