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Dunta ends holdout, signs tender


Cornerback Dunta Robinson did conditioning drills with strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright (left) on Sunday in his first day back with the team.

The Texans got a key piece of their defense back on Sunday when cornerback Dunta Robinson reported to Reliant Stadium to sign his franchise tender, ending his offseason holdout a week before the season opener.

"It feels great to be back," Robinson said. "Walking in this locker room this morning, I saw all the smiling faces... there was just a lot of high-fiving a lot of hugging. It's good to be back where I belong."

Robinson sat out the entire offseason after failing to agree to a long-term contract with the Texans and being tagged as the franchise player. He spent his time training at the Parisi Speed School in New Jersey and at IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla.

At IMG, Robinson worked out with longtime NFL defensive backs coach Bill Bradley and former Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Matt Jones.

"I started that as soon as camp started, so I basically went through my own two-a-days down there," he said. "We went at it every day, so I feel like I'm prepared. I feel like I'm in pretty good shape."

During Sunday's practice, Robinson did conditioning drills with strength coach Ray Wright and head athletic trainer Geoff Kaplan on a separate field from the rest of the team. Texans coach Gary Kubiak said that Robinson will join his teammates for practice on Tuesday if his conditioning level meets expectations.

Robinson will move back into the starting lineup effective immediately.

"He'll go to his spot, you bet," Kubiak said. "But like I told him, it's up to him to basically show us how he is physically, how far he can come in this next week. I don't think you're looking at a player that's going to go out there and play 60-70 plays (against the Jets). Whether or not he'll be there on gameday, we'll see. He will let us know by how he practices."

{QUOTE}Robinson said that he isn't worried that his prolonged holdout will create any lingering animosity between he and the Texans' front office.

"I think it's all smoothed over," he said. "I think what people don't understand is that it was never that serious to the point where I was going to come to blows with somebody. We agreed to disagree. Now I'm back and the tender is signed, and now it's time to play football. Everything else is out the window. It was never really that serious that I think people wanted to make it out to be."

In 2007, Robinson was placed on the reserve/injured list in November after suffering a serious knee injury at Oakland. He returned in Week 7 of the 2008 season and finished the year with 38 tackles and two interceptions. The Texans went 5-1 down the stretch with Robinson in the starting lineup.

The Texans' career leader with 13 interceptions, Robinson has started 63 of 68 games since being drafted in the first round in 2004 out of South Carolina.

"When you look at the guys in this organization who have been here through all the growing pains and everything, you start to look at Chester (Pitts), you look at Andre (Johnson) and then you look at Dunta," Kubiak said. "They've been the cornerstones and we've built the team around those guys, and I know they're counting on him and I know he's very upbeat and ready to go. We're just excited to have him back."

The Texans did not have to release a player to make room for Robinson because they were granted a two-week roster exemption by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell due to Robinson's late reporting date. They will be allowed to have 54 players on their active roster during that time period.

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