All DeMarcus Walker can do now is watch the clock.
The fifth-year defensive lineman put everything on the field throughout training camp and the preseason. Now, he awaits as the Houston Texans and 31 other teams trim their rosters to 53 players ahead of the Tuesday 3 p.m. CT deadline.
"I don't even know if I made the team yet," Walker said. "You just got to control what you can control. I would just say (it's) time-consuming you know."
Walker's start to training camp as a Houston Texan was a bumpy one. After contracting pneumonia, Walker found himself on the Active/Non-Football Injury list for the first five days of camp. The 6-4, 285-pound lineman lost seven pounds and was worried about passing the conditioning test. He passed, but it wasn't an easy start to camp.
"I had to hit the ground running with learning the details, the technique," Walker said. "When playing Green Bay, Cowboys and Bucs, I have had to make the most of my opportunities."
In the Texans' third and final preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Walker showed up on the field and on the stat sheet. He tackled Quarterback Blaine Gabbert in the end zone for a safety. He finished with a team-high six tackles (three solo), one sack, one tackle for loss, one quarterback hit and one forced fumble. The week before at Dallas, Walker had a sack, a tackle for loss and one quarterback hit against the Cowboys.
Walker knew his preseason performance would weigh heavily on the front office evaluation of him.
"It's definitely important because at the end of the day, you have to make plays in football," Walker said. "That's how you make the team, that's how you get paid, that's how you become a franchise player by making plays."
Walker understands it's a business. Throughout the offseason, he frequently talked to Defensive Coordinator Lovie Smith and his position coach Bobby King to find out where he needed improvement and play to their expectations and beyond in a talented defensive line room.
"I'm going into Year 5," Walker said. "I know what it takes to make the team. It was just like, alright. Help me get there then."
A former second-round draft pick for the Denver Broncos, Walker signed with the Texans as an unrestricted free agent in April. Walker played four seasons with the Broncos, recording 10.5 sacks, 16 quarterback hits, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and 51 total tackles through 36 games with five starts.
The Texans will open their 2021 regular season at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, September 12. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. CDT on CBS and SportsRadio 610. For tickets, click here.