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Draft day party draws nearly 5,000


Fans gathered in the Verizon West Club level of Reliant Stadium watch the 2008 draft on television in eager anticipation of the Texans' first-round draft choice.

The 2008 Texans Draft Day Party, presented by Miller Lite, brought close to 5,000 fans to Reliant Stadium to cheer on their home team during 2008 NFL Draft.

Team management spiced up this year's event with tailgating beginning at 10:30 a.m. Texans faithful showed up in droves on a beautiful Saturday morning to enjoy the first sponsored offseason tailgate in club history.

At 1:30 p.m., the stadium doors opened and fans flocked up to the club level on the third floor for the draft party, which doubled in size from previous years by spanning the entire Verizon West Club and both the North and South concourses.

The 2008 Houston Texans Cheerleaders and 2008 Texans Pep Band made their respective public debuts, both to widespread approval. And in addition to the games and photo-ops set up for fans of all ages, the Texans this year doubled the amount of cheerleader and player autograph locations.

Cheerleaders and Texans players such as kicker Kris Brown, cornerback Fred Bennett, tackle Ephraim Salaam and linebacker Morlon Greenwood signed autographs for endless streams of fans in the North and South concourses.

"It's great to intervene and come in here and mix it up with the fans and everybody that supports the Texans," one fan said. "And it's really good for the kids with the players that showed up to sign autographs and all the games and everything. It's really nice.

"(The draft party) is a nice middle of the road deal when the NFL's season not in action to be able to come and be part of the team and support them."

The draft-day excitement wasn't just limited to the fans.

"We get to hopefully get some guys in here, some young guys that'll help us in our goal of making it to the playoffs and eventually winning a championship, so I think it's excitement for all," Salaam said.

Eager fans watched the draft unfold on big-screen TVs as SportsRadio 610's Adam Wexler, Matt Jackson and Marc Vandermeer provided a local supplement to the NFL Network's coverage of the draft with pick-by-pick commentary as the day rolled on.

Though the Texans' trade down from the 18th to 26th pick in the first round put fans' excitement on ice for a short while, it ended up extending the party, scheduled to end at 5:30 p.m., later into the evening hours.

That was fine with the thousands gathered at the stadium, who were happy to be in each other's company when the team took Virginia Tech tackle Duane Brown with its first pick.

"Being with other Texans fans, man – it's our family, man," another fan said. "We're family here, and this is the beginning of the season. No matter what people want to say, this is really the beginning of football season – draft day."

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