Allen retires after five NFL seasons

After missing two days of practice and last night's preseason opener against Denver, Texans running back James Allen announced his retirement Sunday night.

"I met today with James Allen and James has decided to retire," Texans head coach Dom Capers said Sunday. "Basically it just came down to this -- that he thought it was the right time to get on with his life outside of football. I think he had lost a little bit of his drive, and I want to say I have the ultimate respect for James Allen. I certainly appreciate what he did, and his contribution to this team last year."

After playing his first four seasons in Chicago, Allen originally signed with Houston as an unrestricted free agent on Mar. 15, 2002, then re-signed with the club on May 13 of this year. He rushed for 519 yards and caught a career-high 47 passes last season for the Texans. Allen's best season came in 2000, when he led the Bears with 1,120 yards.

After splitting the running back duties with Jonathan Wells last season, Allen found increased competition in the backfield in 2003. The Texans signed Stacey Mack as a free agent from Jacksonville and Mack appears to have the starting job in hand, especially after gaining 49 yards against the Broncos Saturday. Houston also drafted two young running backs -- Domanick Davis in the fourth round of the college draft and Tony Hollings in the second round of the supplemental draft.

Allen informed Capers of his decision face-to-face earlier today.

"I think that he's such a competitor, it's something he's been struggling with over the last week or so, and he was enough of a man to come in and talk about it," Capers said. "He didn't want to go out there and give less that what he was capable of. We certainly wish James well, and we thank him for his contribution here, and he'll be missed."

         The
         Texans return to the practice field tomorrow for two-a-days in
         preparation for Friday's preseason game at Dallas.
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