On Sunday, the 6-2, 340-pound nose tackle known as "Big Grease" will play his 200th NFL game against Philadelphia.
Ryan Pickett's teammates have embraced the cheerful, seasoned veteran and the nickname he's held since he was three years old. When he grew bigger than his father, sometime in high school, 'Little Grease' became 'Big Grease.'
Pickett, who signed with Houston on September 24, was a free agent keeping in shape waiting for his next opportunity. While playing golf in California, he received a call from the Texans in late September to come in for a meeting.
"When?" he asked, "Next week?"
The Texans wanted Pickett soon, much sooner. So he headed home, packed up this things, and boarded a plane for Houston the same day.
"We had our eye on him," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "We knew he was out there. We brought him in, worked him out and it looked like he was in halfway decent shape for a workout. We figured that he'd been working, not just sitting on the couch. We brought him in and we thought he'd help us, and he has."
The fourteen-year veteran didn't expect to be starting in Week 4 against Buffalo, just four days after he signed. He has started every game since.
"He's played a big role," O'Brien said. "He's played a big role in the 3-4. He's got good size. He's played a lot of football in this league. He's gotten in better and better football condition since he's arrived. He's worked hard at that. He's done a good job of holding the point. He's a tough guy to move. He's a 340 pound guy, tough to move. He's got good instincts, good hands. He's played a good part in helping us in our run defense and the 3-4 defense."
Pickett, a 2001 first round draft pick out of Ohio State, learned from Texans defensive line coach Bill Kollar during his first five years in the NFL. Kollar held the same position for the Rams from 2001-2005, the duration of Pickett's career in St. Louis.
Pickett has attributed his success of 14 NFL seasons with three teams to staying healthy and being accountable. He strives to be better every day.
"I'm not where I want to be yet but I'm getting there," Pickett said.
Big Grease and the (4-4) Texans will host the (5-2) Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. on FOX KRIV-26 and SportsRadio 610.