When Tytus Howard arrived in Houston last April, he had no idea what position he would be asked to play on the offensive line. The rookie out of Alabama State started at left guard in his NFL debut against Jacksonville in Week 2, but moved to right tackle for the rest of his 2019 campaign.
"It felt pretty good playing right tackle," Howard said. "I played that more in college, but like I said when I first got here, I was going to play wherever coach wanted me to play. Is that right tackle, right guard, left guard, doesn't matter, I would just go out there and do the best I can do for us to win. That's the only thing that matters."
Howard started eight games before a season-ending knee injury sent him to injured reserve for the final five games of the regular season and all of the postseason. Currently, he is rehabbing at the stadium and says he has no specific timetable on his return. Howard is working to get back to 100 percent and on the field for Year 2.
"Tytus had a really good rookie year," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "The guy was really playing well for us. Very tough, very physical, very athletic, great guy, great teammate. He was injured in the Kansas City game in October, and it was a tough injury. He tried to come back, he played with it, and then we decided to shut him down because it wasn't going to be good for him. It was better for him to begin that rehab process and all those things. But he's got a really bright future."
In Week 6 at Kansas City, Howard was carted off the field for a knee injury. Many, including the rookie himself, thought his season was finished, but he returned after missing just two games. He came back to help the Texans get a big win against Jacksonville in London, paving the way for a single-game season-high 216 total rushing yards.
Howard says the November 3 win at Wembley Stadium was one of his favorite moments from 2019.
"Dealing with injury, coming back and just to play in London and getting a hard-fought win against Jacksonville and just seeing the look on my teammates' faces, it was very emotional for me because once upon a time, I thought I wasn't going to be playing for the rest of the season," Howard said. "But then I came back and my coaches supported me the whole time and I'm just glad to be a part of the Houston Texans."
On Tuesday, Howard was named to the 2019 Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) All-Rookie team.