The Texans selected Rice University tight end James Casey in the fifth round (152nd overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft. Casey received a call from general manager Rick Smith at his apartment less than three miles away from Reliant Stadium and then drove over minutes later to speak to the press.
(Opening statement) "First of all, it's obviously a dream come true to be drafted into the NFL and get a chance to play in the NFL. It's something that I've dreamed about my whole life and just my whole goal was to get into the NFL. On top of that, to be drafted by the Texans is just unbelievable. It couldn't have worked out any better for me. You know, I went to Rice here in Houston, I've been here, I live here. It's great. I love Houston. I got a lot of friends and family in Houston, so like I said again it couldn't have worked out any better. I'm just so happy to be in Houston right now. I'm so excited about the opportunity. I saw (owner) Mr. (Bob) McNair earlier and I told him, 'Thanks for taking a chance with me and I'm going to give you everything that I've got and try to help the team win and just hope for the best and keep working hard.' I'm just so happy. I can't even really describe it. It's been so fast. I got drafted like fifteen minutes ago. I'm so happy just to get drafted, just to be in Houston, and it couldn't have worked out any better."
(On if he feels any added pressure being a local guy) "No sir. I feel even less pressure now being in Houston, being from the area and being familiar with everything. I don't have to go to a different city and get used to everything else. So I feel even less pressure being in Houston. I'm familiar with the coaches a little bit here and with the Texans. So it's just a great opportunity and I'm just so much looking forward to it."
(On if he thought the Texas Bowl gave him added exposure to the Texans staff) "I think it did. We just got done playing our bowl game here at Reliant Stadium against Western Michigan on the NFL Network. So, I think it really did get exposure out to Rice, and let some more people see me that may not have seen me. My last game was here at Reliant Stadium and hopefully my next game is going to be here too. So, it couldn't have worked out any better. I'll probably keep saying that over and over. But, I'm so happy to have it this way and I'm just happy to be here right now."
(On what was going through his head when he found out he was drafted)"From when I got the call, it was just complete chaos. I was sitting around all day yesterday, all day today, just hoping someone would take a chance with me. Then finally I got the call from the general manager, Rick Smith, who said they took me. My wife and all my family around were all going crazy. They asked, 'Can you make it to here (Reliant Stadium)?' I was like, 'Of course. I live like a mile away from here.' So they said, 'Well, can you be here in like 15 minutes?' and I said, 'Sure, I can be there in 5 minutes.' So, I just got dressed really fast because I was just wearing some casual clothes, me and my wife. I think that is the fastest I've ever seen her get ready. We drove straight over here and here I am. It's just been chaos ever since. I've had probably 30 text messages that I haven't been able to respond to yet because I've been coming over here."
(On if day one of the draft was difficult not having been drafted) "Yeah, it was difficult. I thought going into it, I was expecting third or fourth round and hoping maybe possibly someone would take a shot at me in the second round. But it didn't work out that way. That's just going to serve to motivate me even more. I like to see it of course that the Texans got a steal at this pick. Of course I think that, going in the 5th round. It kind of balances out going in the 5th round, but I went to the Texans. I get to stay in Houston, being from Rice. So it's a great opportunity that way and for all those teams that passed on me, it's another thing that motivates me. Stuff that has motivated me my whole life is when people doubt me. So, I'm really going to use that as motivation to show people that I'm a lot better than people think and I'm going to use that with the Houston Texans and hopefully show everybody how good I am."
(On if he was packed up or waiting around to see where he would go) "Well, just as the process went, we didn't know where we were gonna go. So we just started packing things up just in case we had to go somewhere. We live in an apartment that is literally like maybe a mile and a half or two miles from here, just on the other side of (highway) 610. Our lease is up anyway, so we're going to have to move, but I can stay in the same apartment or I've got a lot of friends and family from Rice and everything around here that probably can help me find somewhere to live pretty easily. I'm obviously familiar with the area. It's great. We can stay in the same apartment if we want to."
(On if he will have knowledge for younger draft picks having been drafted to play professional baseball) "Coming in, being a rookie, I don't know how much I'll be able to help the other guys because I've gotta worry about myself a lot, just to make the team. But I think it helps me out personally playing for the White Sox in the minor leagues and understanding professional sports and how it works, being more mature. Going into Rice, what I learned from professional sports, really helped me out and was the reason I was real successful at Rice. So I'm going to take the same mentality going into things here with the Texans. I think it's going to help me out a lot if anybody asks me for any kind of advice about professional sports or anything like, it may help a little."
(On if he was happy for Rice teammate Jarrett Dillard, who was drafted by Jacksonville) "I was extremely happy. I saw his name go to the Jaguars and I sent him a text message right away. It's been great to have somebody to go through the process with. Coming from Rice, its not a big top school, so we don't get a lot of notoriety that other guys get from being from big schools. So to have two guys go in the 5th round, you know, obviously we were both hoping to go really high but still the 5th round, you're getting drafted into the NFL. Not many guys get to do that. I've been with him through this whole process. We've been working out together just down the road at Rice. We talked just recently after I got drafted, and we're both just so excited. Hopefully, we're going to try and go into the league and show people what guys at Rice can do and show them that we can be successful even though we're from Rice."
(On if there will be trash-talking between him and Dillard) "Yeah, I'll probably be doing some trash talking when I see him. You know – the competitiveness. He's a real competitive guy, too, but also we're from Rice so we're going to be on each other's side but when we play each other. Of course, he's going to be the opponent."
(On if it is important to him to make an impact on special teams) "Of course. That's probably going to be my priority going into camp and just trying to show the coaches that I can play special teams and I'm definitely more than willing to play any special teams that they would like. I did a lot at Rice. I was a punt returner. I did holding. I may not be asked to do that stuff here but I can be on the kickoff team, kick return, anything special teams that they want me to do I will be more than willing to do it. I'm going to give everything I've got on special teams because I know how important that is to make the team."
(On if he thought he would be here back when he was playing minor league baseball) "I couldn't have even imagined it back then. If you would've come talk to me when I was twenty years old and in the minor league system with the White Sox and say, 'Hey, maybe in 3 or 4 years, you're going to get drafted by the Houston Texans as a tight end,' I would've said, 'You're crazy.' There is no way I could even imagine that. I've had so many things happen to me to be in this situation to come from riding the buses in the minor leagues, having 16-hour bus rides, then going to Rice. Even going to Rice I thought I was treated like a king being able to fly places. Now, coming into the NFL it's just going to be unbelievable."
(On if any of the guys he played with in the White Sox organization have made it to the major leagues) "Yeah, there have been some guys to go. No really big names, but I still stay in contact with some guys who have been up and down through the majors."
(On how big it was to stay in Houston) "It was huge to being able to stay in Houston. Of course, my wife was happier than anybody that we get to stay here in Houston. So we don't have to worry about packing and moving and all that stuff. So it couldn't have worked out any better to stay here with the Houston Texans. Being at Rice these last couple of years and being in Houston, it's just an ideal situation. I couldn't be any happier than what I am right now."