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Antonio Smith embracing teacher role


Defensive end Antonio Smith can add "teacher" to his resume, just under his titles as "Texans Ninja" and soothsayer “Tonestradamus.”

Over the last three weeks, Smith has had the opportunity to scope out the new class of rookies during Texans organized training activities. The ninth-year veteran acted as a mentor on the field, sharing advice and critiquing some of the newcomers.

"I'm fixing to start charging extra," Smith joked after the final day of OTAs. "I might even get two checks for my coaching expertise. I'm going to go into guru coaching."

Although Smith described the first few days as a little "rocky," he believes the team found their groove in the final two weeks of practice.

"Well, there are some shuffling pieces right now because we're waiting on Cush (ILB Brian Cushing) to get back," he said. "But other than that, it ran smooth. Everything was good. We learned each other's techniques and what moves each other do so we can blitz and things like that and hug rush. Everything's coming together.

"There isn't any need to rush it. It's going to come together like it's supposed to. We're not a young team anymore, so we know what needs to be done and we know what time frame we have to do it."

The Texans picked up nine players in the 2013 NFL Draft, among them first and second rounders DeAndre Hopkins and D.J. Swearinger, who have been receiving a lot of buzz for their efforts during OTAs.

And the teacher has taken notice.

"I like looking at some of the rookies we got," Smith said. "We've got some talent, man. We've really got some talent; some that in a few years are going to be giving some guys runs for their jobs.

"I love rookies that are going to come in and try to be what they dream to be, not just come in and just hope they make a team, or something like that. They want to be stars and they want to be stars. When you've got rookies like that, you're going to have a great team."

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