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Empty Notebook: Day 1 of training camp


The following is a random assortment of quotes, oddities, scattershots and interesting tidbits from Friday's training camp practice.

-The team was outside on the Methodist Training Center grass fields for the first half of the two-hour practice Friday morning. They went inside around 9 a.m. As the team filed in, a quartet of veterans went to work on the JUGS machine and caught extra passes. Safety Ed Reed, wide receiver Andre Johnson, tight end Owen Daniels and running back Arian Foster reeled in pass after pass.

-Reed, Johnson and Foster all wore long sleeves, despite the 90-degree heat and humidity.

-Foster did a 1-on-1 after practice with future Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson. The piece was live on the NFL Network.

-Rookie safety D.J. Swearinger spoke after the morning practice. He was asked about the first day and replied that he felt great, but he wanted to see the film. I asked him what he thought the film would look like and believed he'd "look confident".

-Swearinger was also happy to see former high school teammate and fellow rookie Sam Montgomery on the field at outside linebacker.

-Former Houston Oiler and current CBS Sports studio analyst Spencer Tillman was at both the morning and afternoon practices. In addition to his college football duties on Saturdays during the fall, he'll serve as the color commentator with play-by-play voice Joel Meyers for Texans preseason television broadcasts.

-At various points during the morning practice, receivers Lestar Jean, Keshawn Martin and Alec Lemon made tough catches.

-Wide receiver Andre Johnson was "excited" to be back out, but said the team still has a "lot to build on". He was impressed by about some of the younger receivers reeling in tough catches in traffic.

"We had a bunch of guys out making plays on the ball. That's what it's all about: when you get opportunities you go out and make plays."

-Earlier in the week, outside linebacker Sam Montgomery was placed on the team's Non-football injury list. Thursday afternoon, he was pulled off it. Friday morning he practiced. He explained that "it was a wakeup call" and that he needed to improve upon his nutrition and eating habits.

-Rice head coach David Bailiff watched the morning practice.

-In the afternoon practice, head coach Gary Kubiak held a handful of veterans out of certain portions of team drills. Combined with some players being on the Physically Unable to Perform list, that resulted in combos like Danieal Manning and Shiloh Keo at safety. Or Kareem Jackson and Brandon Harris at cornerback. Or Cameron Collins and Tim Dobbins at inside linebacker.

-At the age of 31, with eight years of NFL experience, defensive end Antonio Smith is one of the elder statesmen on the club. When he was asked about 34-year old Ed Reed, Smith laughed and tossed out a Star Wars reference.

"If I'm like the old teacher...then Ed Reed is like Yoda."

-Punter Shane Lechler scraped the ceiling a time or two when punting inside in the afternoon at the Methodist Training Center.

-Lechler and kicker Randy Bullock were both interviewed following the afternoon practice by a television station from Bryan-College Station. They both played for Texas A&M.

-Following the afternoon practice, general manager Rick Smith met with and thanked a trio from the U.S. Navy. The three men are enlisted maintenance crew from the Blue Angels.

-Every morning during camp on Texans Radio, Rick Smith will join Marc Vandermeer to break down a position group. He spoke about the running backs today.

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