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Davis wins AFC monthly honor


Davis was AFC Special Teams Player of the Week in Week 13 after he returned this kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown against the Bucs.

Barely noticed by the media when he signed as a free agent with the Texans prior to the start of the season, wide receiver André Davis is getting plenty of attention now.

With a flurry of a finish of his fourth consecutive season on a different team,

Davis was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for December.

The sixth-year wideout and former track star out of Virginia Tech returned three kickoffs for touchdowns in December, joining Vitamin Smith of the Los Angeles Rams (October 1950) as the only player in league history to return three kickoffs for touchdowns in the same month.

"I'm very excited,"

Davis said. "Most importantly, I'm glad for our whole special teams; I think it's an award we all deserve, not just myself. All of the other 10 guys on the team are just as deserving as I am.

"I'm just happy that the Texans were able to finish off this season strong, and hopefully, this will be the foundation for something better next year."

Davis earned AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors in Week 13, when he returned a kickoff 97 yards for a score against Tampa Bay. Two weeks later, he added 97- and 104-yard touchdowns on consecutive kickoffs and a momentum-changing fumble recovery that set up another Texans touchdown in the season finale against


"I'm obviously happy for him and their whole group of guys," special teams coordinator Joe Marciano said, singling out linebacker Zac Diles and tight ends Joel Dreessen and Owen Daniels for their excellent blocking against Jacksonville.

"It took everybody to help André," Marciano said. "The other 10 guys did a really good job of getting him started, and he took care of the rest. He's a great talent."

{QUOTE}In five December games against four playoff teams,

Davis averaged 34.9 yards on 20 kick returns, totaling 697 yards. He was at his best against some of the top kick return coverage units in the league.

The Buccaneers ranked second in the NFL in kick coverage prior to Week 13, allowing an average of 17.6 yards per return.

Davis finished the game with a 57.5-yard average on two returns, including the touchdown.

The Jaguars had the league's top-ranked kick coverage unit before Week 17, allowing 17.6 yards per return.

Davis averaged 46.8 yards per return for the game to set a Texans' single-game record.

His touchdowns came on the Jaguars' final kickoff of the first half and first kickoff of the second half, and turned a 14-14 tie into a 28-14 Texans lead. It was the first time in team history that a player returned two kickoffs for a touchdown in the same game, and only the seventh time in the history of the NFL.

Davis also recovered a muffed punt in the first quarter at the

Jacksonville six-yard line. It was his first career fumble recovery and set up the Texans' first touchdown of the game.

"He's also a good punt cover guy," Marciano said. "With his speed outside as a flyer, it's hard to single-cover him. Teams are forced to double-cover him, and it makes it hard on return teams. He's helped our punt coverage game, too."

He had three kick returns for 67 yards at Tennessee on Dec. 2. On Dec. 9 against Denver,

Davis returned four kickoffs for 116 yards, including a long of 50 yards. Against the Colts in Week 15,

Davis returned six kickoffs for 165 yards, an average of 27.5 yards per return, with a long of 35 yards.

In each of his last three seasons in Cleveland, New England and then Buffalo,

Davis was relegated to mostly special teams duty and received limited opportunities as a wide receiver. That changed drastically in

Houston, where he set a career-high with 583 receiving yards in 2007, stepping up when Andre Johnson went down with injury for seven games.

But Davis, who said he has always enjoyed playing special teams, still took on kick return duties with an eagerness to help the Texans win.

"We just wanted to make ourselves proud and make our team proud by trying to help out the team in any way possible," he said. "A lot of times, it's always caught up in the offense and the defense, but the special teams can make just as big of a difference as the offense or defense. We just wanted to do whatever we could to help the team out."


Davis only returned kicks in eight games this season, his three touchdowns tied him for the NFL season lead with Leon Washington, who returned for the Jets all season. He also finished the year ranked second in the NFL with a 30.3-yard kick return average.

"I think it's just the hard work that I've put in and also that the team put in that we knew that at any point in time we could go out there and really be successful," Davis said. "I think this last half of the season things just really ended up working out real well and we were able to turn in some big plays for the team."

This is

Davis ' first career Player of the Month Award. He is the first Texans player to win Player of the Month since defensive back Marcus Coleman won for defense in 2003.

It's the sixth NFL honor this season for the Texans, extending the club record.

List of Texans Players of the Month Awards:

Player Award Month Year
André Davis AFC Special Teams December 2007
Amobi Okoye NFL Defensive Rookie September 2007
DeMeco Ryans NFL Defensive Rookie December 2006
Marcus Coleman AFC Defensive September 2003
Chad Stanley AFC Special Teams September 2002

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