Texans tight end Owen Daniels is enjoying his offseason on the heels of his first fully healthy season since 2008.
A 2008 Pro Bowler, Daniels tore his ACL midway through the 2009 season and missed five games in 2010 with a hamstring injury. He started 15 regular-season games in 2011 and led the Texans with 54 catches and 677 receiving yards. He could be primed for an even bigger 2012 with the departure of No. 2 tight end Joel Dreessen in free agency.
"It's been great, man," Daniels said of his offseason on Monday at Reliant Stadium. "It's been a little different. These last three offseasons have been different. We had the one before the CBA, then we had the lockout offseason, now we've got this offseason, so it's just kind of been nice to have a little bit more freedom in terms of once we've had our OTAs and mini-camps and all those workouts and stuff. That was good for all of us to get together. Now, it's kind of staying in shape and having that type of freedom to do some different stuff from what we were doing here working out, kind of supplement what we were doing here."
Daniels has been participating in the players-only throwing sessions led by quarterback Matt Schaub, who missed OTAs because of a foot injury, at the University of Houston.
"That's been going well," he said. "Catching a pass or two just playing catch is one thing when he was rehabbing, but he feels great. I know he's heading out (to Charlotte, N.C.) to get checked out (Tuesday) and released for good. I know he's been waiting on that for a while. He's been feeling good for a while. It's good to get that type of work in, get a little bit of knocking the rust off, so to speak, in terms of our relationship throwing and catching the ball, just a little ramping up toward camp. It's good that we get a chance to do that."
Coming off a 10-6 season and the Texans' first-ever trip to the playoffs, Daniels and his teammates are understandably excited about the upcoming season.
"I think we're pretty fired up," he said. "I think our expectations are super high. I know outside of the building, the expectations are high, but none higher than they are in here. So we've got a lot of good work in. I think we're way ahead of where we were last offseason going into this season, going into camp. Everyone's fired up. We expect a lot out of each other and can't wait to get started, that's for sure."
Daniels is also competing with three local celebrities in the "4G for Charity" contest sponsored by Verizon Wireless. Learn more here and vote to help him win $4,000 for his Owen Daniels Catch a Dream Foundation, which supports children's hospitals in the Greater Houston area.