Neil Rackers is competing with Kris Brown for the Texans' kicking job in training camp. He signed with the Texans as a free agent this offseason and recently took a timeout to answer 10 questions for HoustonTexans.com.
1. You played soccer growing up. Which position did you play, and do you have any memorable moments from your soccer days?"I played up top, forward to be exact. I had a couple of goals in the state final that we won, that was pretty memorable to me."
2. What made you trade in your shin guards for football pads?
"Pat Leahy. I started kicking half way through my sophomore year; I went to soccer practice and came home with football pads. They hadn't made a field goal or PAT all year, and in the first game I kicked a 49- and 37-yarder and Pat Leahy from the New York Jets happened to be there, he was a friend of friend, he started to work with me, and talked to me about switching over. "
3. Do you have any pregame rituals?
"I always get a drink of water before I go on the field and I always chew Big Red gum while on the field."
4. The clock is winding down, the offense is fighting for good field position and the coach calls on you to come and seal the game with a field goal attempt. What is going through your mind at this point?
"Go win the ball game. You've kicked the ball 10,000 maybe 20,000 times at this point, why change it now? Go do what you do and go in and celebrate with your teammates."
5. Do you consider yourself to be a mentally strong person?
"That's an interesting question. I always joke that I'm too dumb to realize what's going on, and that's a good thing. So you just go out, the crowd noise becomes white noise, the people become colors, and you're in your own little work, so just go put the ball through the upright."
6. Some NFL coaches use timeouts to try to 'ice' the kicker; what is your take on that tactic?
"I love timeouts before I kick. I wish they'd do it for every field goal. Because I like to get out on the field, stand there and visualize for a bit, and then it's your show. I love when coaches do that."
7. What do you do during all of that off time between seasons?
"My family and I like to take a lot of vacations; we've already seen a good amount of Texas. I do a lot of fishing, golfing and relaxing with the family. (I shoot) anywhere between 75 and 95, depends on what's working that day."
8. Do you have any hobbies?
"I've started to get into Legos with my son, and some video games here and there. Lately we've had a ritual as a family: We watch an episode of 'River Monsters' before bed. We find what the kids are enjoying at the time and just go with what they like."
9. On or off the field, how do you want people to remember you?
"As a guy that put it all out there. When I played the game, even though I was a kicker, they got everything I had on every play. I don't think people can fault you when things go wrong when you put it all out there."
10. Pick one: Arizona heat or Texas heat and humidity.
"Texas heat and humidity."