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Colvin fitting in with Texans


Colvin should make an impact on the Texans' pass rush this season.

Rosevelt, Rosevelt, where foreart thou?

Where Rosevelt Colvin will play seemed to be one of the burning questions as the Texans began preseason practices Friday.

Colvin has played defensive end in the 4-3 and outside linebacker in the 3-4 in his illustrious career. He most often has rushed the passer with a ferocity that has gained him 52.5 career sacks, and at times he even has covered a wide receiver out of the backfield.

So who knows where the former Chicago Bears and New England Patriots 10th-year player will turn up? Even he enjoys the speculation.

"I think I've got a skill set that's different than some guys and the same as some guys," Colvin said after his first day of practices. "I just do my role and what they ask me to do. Right now, I've lined up at defensive end a few times and I'm going to try and perfect that. If they ask me to play safety, I'll work very hard at that."

That likely won't happen. But the possibilities the versatile Colvin presents have the Texans coaches drooling. Though he's 31 years old, he has the wear and tear of a much younger player.

That's because Colvin has been plagued by injuries the last five years playing for the Patriots. Some said he never returned to his original form after dislocating his hip in a freak injury early in his first season with New England in 2003.

He had led the Bears in sacks with 10.5 in both 2001 and 2002, but never reached that number with the Patriots. His 8.5 sacks in 2006 signaled he was nearly all the way back.

{QUOTE}But last year, Colvin broke a bone in his foot and went on injured reserve Nov. 27 after registering just four sacks in 10 starts.

So just where he will play now intrigues many about this 6-3, 250-pounder who probably is as smart as any player in the league.

"Dick Jauron, my coach in Chicago said – 'If you're good enough, they'll find you,'" Colvin said. "So they found me, hopefully I'm good enough to make the team and contribute as much as I can during the season."

No one doubts a healthy Covin can make this team. But Colvin is making no predictions. At this point, he says he's just trying to fit in.

"I've got a lot of work to do," Colvin said. "I think as a team, I'm really trying to focus on myself and just get out of the other guys' way.

"For me to come out and say this is what I expect or don't expect wouldn't be right because I barely even know all the guys."

Colvin is taking that low-key approach because he doesn't want to be thought of as the team's saviour. He knows this is a team just a breath away from making the playoffs and he wants to help them get there without the focus being on him.

"I've never been the type of person to say I'm the answer to solve any problems," Colvin said. "I'm just a piece of the puzzle just like the next guy is. What (general manager) Rick (Smith) and coach have tried to build here over the last couple of years, I'm just a part of that.

"Looking down the line, you have a lot of guys who have a lot of talent. Hopefully, I can come in and contribute the best I can and help give them more opportunities to excel at what they do."

Colvin, in fact, is just getting to know all the Texans faces and names. After signing in June and missing all of offseason practices, he has spoken only briefly with Mario Williams and a handful of other players.

"I've gotten to know a couple of the older players," Colvin said. "I think over the course of the next week or so, I'll get the opportunity to bond with them a little bit more and develop a good relationship with them.

"I'm looking forward to it. They have a lot of young talent. I see a lot of similarities when I was coming through in my second, third and fourth years when I was in Chicago. They've got a young linebacking crew and big D-linemen.

"The opportunity I have to play defensive line is a great opportunity for me and I hope I hit a home run with it."

Colvin's position on the team is such a point of speculation because he is coming from a 3-4 defense and now is being asked to play in a 4-3. He doesn't think that will be a huge adjustment.

"Over the course of the season, during the last five years probably half the game I'd be down in a three-point stance," he said. "Hopefully, it's not that big of a transition as some people are expecting.

"If I was playing a two-point linebacker my whole career and now they asked me to put my hand down, it would be different or vice versa. But it's been mixed in here and there so it shouldn't be that big a deal. But it's a work in progress and I have a lot of work to do."

Of course, when pressed, Colvin admits he has his druthers.

"I like to rush the passer," Colvin said. "So it doesn't matter where you line me up, as long as I can rush, then I'm good.

"Regardless, you don't go out there on your own and win games. It's a collective effort with 11 guys going out there trying to be successful on that play. If I have to cover, I'll cover. And if I have to rush, I'll rush. And if I have to play the run, I'll play the run.

"I'm technically not a cover linebacker. But I pride myself in getting the job done."

Coach Gary Kubiak sounds confident that Colvin will get 'er done.

"It should be an easy adjustment as far as knowing what we're doing," Kubiak said of Colvin. "We'll have to see how he fits in what we're doing and how we're using him. We have to be smart. He's not a big enough guy, end-wise, to play down in and down out. We'll have to pick our spots so I think it's up to us coaches to find his niche.

"He's more of like a linebacker/pass rush guy. With our scheme, we want to play him at the end position when we move Mario Williams around some. I think it's the same role, but a little bit different position for him."

Included in Colvin's success has been the fact he has played on two Super Bowl champions with the Patriots in 2002 and 2003. That's not lost on Texans defensive line coach Jethro Franklin.

"He's a veteran player who obviously has proven over the years what he can do," Franklin said Friday. "Watching him, you can see he has some pass rush techniques and has a good understanding of blocking schemes and run techniques.

"Being as it's the first day with no pads, there's not a whole lot to go off of other than that."

So Franklin can't answer where Colvin will play.

"We're still making those decisions right now," Franklin said. "More than likely he'll be an end, but we're still evaluating.

"The way he's been able to survive is quickness and techniques. I was excited when we signed him. He's been in Super Bowls and done some exciting things in his career. Hopefully, some of that stuff will rub off on us."

EDITOR'S NOTE:Jim Carley is a veteran Houston sportswriter who has covered the NFL for more than 25 years. He has worked for such newspapers as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Houston Post, the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner and the National Sports Daily covering such teams as the Dallas Cowboys, the Houston Oilers, the Los Angeles Rams and the Oakland Raiders.

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