It's been a crazy 48 hours for Al-Hajj Shabazz, but the newest Texan says he wouldn't have it any other way.
"I'm tired, didn't get any sleep, but we have other times for that, man," Shabazz said Wednesday. "We'll get rest later. It's not the time for it. These guys have a big game coming up. Whether they need me in on special teams right now, I'm willing to do whatever it takes so these guys can win this division."
The Texans claimed the first-year cornerback out of West Chester off waivers on Monday and by Wednesday, he was practicing with his new team. Cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers who needed to make room for former Texan kicker Randy Bullock to their active roster, Shabazz was expecting to be re-signed by the Steelers.
"I was actually in the building signing back with Pittsburgh and I got the call that they grabbed me," Shabazz said. "At first, I didn't know that was like – I thought the guy was like joking with me. They were like, 'No, man, you're going to Houston.' So, everybody's sending congrats. I didn't really have time to really dwell on anything. Look, go home, pack a bag, I'll be at the airport. Welcome to Houston."
Shabazz (6-2, 200) saw action in five games with the Steelers, mostly contributing on special teams. The 24-year-old Philadelphia native is working to get acquainted with the playbook and terminology as quickly as possible. He won't have to do that with some of his teammates and coaches. Wide receivers Will Fuller V and Jaelen Strong are both Philadelphia natives. Secondary coach John Butler and head strength and conditioning coach Craig Fitzgerald also both attended La Salle High School in Philadelphia. Shabazz has been leaning on them to help him up to speed.
"I'm definitely up to the challenge," Shabazz said. "I have veteran guys already coming to help me, I have, I told you, on the offensive side of the ball, some of my Philly guys already here. Even the coaches, some La Salle guys, so people I'm familiar with that kind of know my background, and they're helping me so much, man."
Check out some of the best shots from Wednesday's practice as the Texans prepare for Sunday's game against the Colts.