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Faggins leaves it on the field

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Cornerback Demarcus Faggins made sure he left a favorable impression on coaches Thursday night.

As final auditions go, DeMarcus Faggins thinks he put on a good show. Now, he hopes it will be good enough.

Faggins, one of three remaining original Texans, played himself out of a starting job at cornerback last season. By season's end, he was laboring on special teams. He spent a restless offseason and has felt on the bubble since the preseason started.

Thursday night's 16-6 loss to Tampa Bay might have been his best game of the preseason.

It might have saved his place on the team.

"Tomorrow they have phone numbers and they have calls to make," Faggins said. "I'm trying not to be the one they call, so I thought I'd go out and leave everything out there on the field."

While most starters didn't even play in the preseason finale, it was high drama for Faggins, who has started 66 games over six seasons with the Texans before hitting a wall last season.

Faggins pumped his fist in the air and stomped around the field after one of his early tackles. He finished with five tackles, one for a loss and one pass defensed.

It wasn't just another preseason game for Faggins.

"Every preseason game I've been feeling like it could be my last game, especially after last season," he said. "I had to make up for the whole season in these first few games. I didn't know if I would be here. I had to let them know I could still play."

Faggins drew the ire of the fans and media last season. There were questions about his tackling.

"I knew I could cover," Faggins said. "They had questions about me tackling. So once I got that first tackle, I'm thinking 'OK.' Then I got the second tackle and it was OK and then everything started falling into place."

{QUOTE}Now, Faggins must hope he won't hear the phone ring . The Texans signed Jacques Reeves in the offseason and made Antwaun Molden their third-round draft pick in April. Jamar Fletcher and Derrick Roberson also are coming for cornerback jobs.

Cornerback Dunta Robinson, recovering from knee surgery, watched his friend from the sidelines and was pleased

"He played with a lot of fire," Robinson said. "I haven't seen him play that way in a long time. I know he can still play well and he's still got it in him. He played with intensity, man. He did the things we expected him to do. That's the Petey that I've grown to know over the years. He could be a starter on any other team."

But Robinson won't make the decision to keep Faggins on the team. That job goes to coach Gary Kubiak, who had high praise for the veteran.

"Well, Petey has had a great camp, we've talked about that before," Kubiak said. "He played extremely well in the first half tonight."

Kubiak said he wasn't surprised at Faggins' rebound.

"I'm really not because that's part of being a pro, especially if you're a cornerback,'' Kubiak said. "He's a sixth-round pick and became a starter in this league. He worked through some hard, hard times that sent him the other way, and now he's battling back and playing his tail off.

"That's what this league is about. He's a great example of how much of a roller coaster ride it can be to play in this league. I'm very proud the way he's bounced back."

It's not unheard of for a player to earn a spot on the team in the final preseason game.

"You go back and look through the years, it's amazing how many kids have made a team on the last game, just by how they played,'' Kubiak said. "How many guys have gotten put on the practice squad because of how they played?"

Robinson has been proud, too, to watch his friend rebound.

"Sometimes there are ups and downs in this league," Robinson said. "Last year didn't go too well for him, but that just shows you the heart that he has. He goes out and plays hard and I think he proved himself to the coaches tonight. He's got a new son. That makes the stakes higher."

Faggins has had thoughts of family as he's labored through his personal drama.

"I've got family. I just want me and my family to survive," Faggins said. "In order to do that I've got to leave everything on the field. They will be there for me no matter what."

Faggins played high school football in Texas, finished college at Kansas State and came to the expansion Texans in 2002. He doesn't want to go anywhere else.

"This is my home; I've never been nowhere else,'' Faggins said. "I couldn't tell you what'd happen if I was to leave, so I'm glad I went out there and played my heart out, made some plays. So I've got to let them make the decision tomorrow.

"I don't know if they're tired of me or not. I'm just trying to let them know that you can't be tired of me. I'm going to keep my name in your brain."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Michael A. Lutz worked for The Associated Press for 38 years covering news and sports in Louisville, Ky. Dallas and Houston. Most of that time was spent in Houston covering the Oilers, Astros, Texans and other college and pro sports.

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