10 questions with Winston

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Right tackle Eric Winston thinks the Texans are just a few players away from being a Super Bowl contender.

Right tackle Eric Winston was having lunch with Owen Daniels when the tight end found out he had made the Pro Bowl as an alternate. Winston talks about the Texans' 2006 draft class, which so far has had three players, including Daniels, earn trips to Hawaii.

1. How have you spent the offseason so far?

"I have been relaxing and traveling. I have taken some trips, but other than that, I have been enjoying hanging out with my family as much as I can."

2. I am assuming you watched the Super Bowl. What did you think of the Pittsburgh Steelers' win? Did you have any idea the game would be so close?

"I thought it was a great game. I thought it was awesome for the NFL to have a Super Bowl that was so close. I didn't think it would be that close, but I did think it promoted our game very well."

3. What are your thoughts on the refs calling a fumble on Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner in the final seconds of the game?

"I was surprised that they didn't overturn that. I thought Warner was going forward, and I thought they would review the call."

{QUOTE}4. What kind of motivation does it give you that a team like the Cardinals was able to turn things around last year, go 9-7 and then make the Super Bowl?

"I feel like the Texans are close. I feel like we are at the point where we are a couple of players away from really being a contender. This last year, we showed that we can beat the best team in football when we play well. As long as we start playing a little more consistently and do things a little better, I think we can do something like the Cardinals did last year."

5. Right now, you have three teammates headed to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl. I heard you were with Owen Daniels when he found out he had made it as an alternate. Talk about what happened.

"We were having a group lunch; Chris Myers was there, too. We were sitting there having Mexican food and OD got a text message saying that he was going to the Pro Bowl. He looked up and told us, and you could tell he was really happy. We were so happy for him. He's worked so hard this year. Playing right next to him, I know that he is such a worker. He's so underrated around the league. Not many people know how well he is playing, as far as his stats and what he brings to the team on the field. To watch him do what he did last season was a lot of fun, and to know how hard he worked makes it really awesome for him."

6. What does it say about your 2006 draft class that three guys have made the Pro Bowl in the last three years?

"It's shaping up like it's going to be an unbelievable draft class for the Texans, maybe even historically. Hopefully, one of these days, I will be able to make it to Hawaii. You look at David Anderson, a seventh-round pick, and he's our third receiver that comes in the game. Mike Brisiel is a starting guard and he came in as an undrafted free agent. It's pretty impressive because of what our draft class has done so far and how we are playing."

7. It's hard to make the Pro Bowl as a right tackle, but you got a lot of kudos last season opening holes for Steve Slaton. What does it take for a right tackle to make it to Hawaii?

"It takes playing on a really good team and getting some publicity. It's not just about playing well. That's part of the deal with the Pro Bowl, but, at the same time, I think it's neat that the fans get to help decide who gets to go. You don't want to take that away from them. I just have to play my game. I have a ways to go before I'm at that caliber, but I'm going to work every day to reach that goal. Hopefully, one of these seasons, I can put together a 16-game season that allows me to get there."

8. You still have a little time before offseason workouts begin. What are some of the exciting things you have planned for the next few months?

"I'm getting married March 1, so I'm really looking forward to that. We are in the process of getting a new house here in Houston. I know that I'm going to be here for a long time after signing that extension, so things are going great. I'm excited about next season and the guys on the team. We have so many great guys and we have so much fun working together, so I'm already looking forward to the next practice, the next season and the next game. I can't wait for it to all start up again."

9. You also are helping host a chili cook-off to raise money for the Gary Lynn Foundation, which helps people with Cerebral Palsy. How did you get involved in this event?

"I met Gary Lynn out at practice. He has Cerebral Palsy, but he is one of the most happy, go-lucky kids. I helped him with a golf tournament last year, and I told him I would like to help out whenever he had an event." (To learn more about the event, click here)

10. Finally, the NFL Scouting Combine is coming up. How much do follow the combine and does it get you excited for the draft?

"I'll turn on the combine a little bit. It's always fun to watch the offensive linemen and the drills they go through, but that's no substitute for game film. Film really is where these guys show who they are. I'm really looking forward to the draft and seeing who we pick up."

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