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Houston Texans

Access granted for Texans fans


Texans season ticket holders flooded Reliant Stadium on Wednesday to get an inside look at the organization during the team's annual All Access event.

There were players like defensive end Mario Williams, running back Steve Slaton and wide receiver Andre Johnson signing autographs at tables scattered across the stadium floor. There were Texans Cheerleaders and the mascot, TORO, posing for photographs to the background of live music. Texans coordinators Joe Marciano, Frank Bush and Kyle Shanahan held question-and-answer sessions.

Fans also were able to take self-guided tours of the team's locker room, weight room, training room, team cafeteria and players' lounge.

"We've gotten autographs from so many players, listened to the band and gone around the stadium," Leticia Salazar of Houston said. "We've had a great time and just enjoyed everybody, and we're ready for football season.

"It is so awesome to get to enjoy everything about this facility from the bottom to the top. We are season ticket holders and we sit way at the top, so it's good to see everything from the bottom. "

{QUOTE}For the fans, the event is a chance to get to know the team firsthand. For the players, it's about interacting with the fans who support them.

"I'm having a great time," guard Chester Pitts said. "It's so funny – everyone that comes by keeps saying, 'Thank you for doing this. Thanks for coming out.' I tell them, 'Thank you for supporting me all these years. Thanks for supporting our team.' It's a privilege to be here."

Rookie first-round draft pick Brian Cushing enjoyed his first introduction to Houston fans.

"This is an opportunity to give back to the fans," Cushing said. "It's the first time I get to meet them and know that they will be cheering me on all season long."

Fan support, in fact, was the theme of the night with the motto, "Be There," featured around the stadium. The Texans want to urge their fans to come to the games early and stay loud for all four quarters.

"When you come out for warm-ups and you see how many fans are in the stands, it gets you pumped up," wide receiver Andre Johnson said. "I think that we have some of the best fans in the world. To have them here early and fill the stands at home games, it helps us out a whole lot."

Johnson has high expectations for 2009, and he believes the fans can help the team reach its goal of seeing the postseason for the first time.

"I just told the fans that if we aren't in the playoffs this year, we've let everybody down," he said. "We'll have let the whole city of Houston down. Those are my expectations. No more 8-8."

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