It's never too early to get excited about football season. That much was clear on Wednesday night at Reliant Stadium, where 9,614 Texans fans attended the team's fifth-annual All Access event five months before Week 1 of the 2010 NFL season.
"It's a lot of fun," Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson said. "We do this event every year, and it's just great. It shows what type of fans we have out here to be out here this time of the year."
The event is free for season-ticket holders. Almost every Texans player was in attendance, as was owner Bob McNair, general manager Rick Smith, several coaches, the Texans Cheerleaders and Texans mascot TORO to sign autographs and interact with fans.
"It's a great chance for fans to come and interact with us on a personal level and get to meet us, and we get to meet them," quarterback Matt Schaub said. "So it's a great two-way street, and we have a great time doing this."
Fans were able to take guided tours of the Texans' weight room, locker room and cafeteria as well as the field level, which was concrete but painted with white lines and a bull logo at midfield as it would be on gameday.
"Meeting all the players, seeing all the behind the scenes what they put into all the football games and being an all-star fan," said a season-ticket holder named Brandy when asked what her favorite part of the night was.
"I think it's just the energy of everybody really appreciate the Texans coming out here and taking their time to sign all this stuff," said another season-ticket holder, Carolyn. "It's just one thing after another. I love it."
The players were stationed at different autograph tables all around the stadium floor and first-level concourse. For some players, including linebacker Brian Cushing, the line for autographs was more than 200 people long throughout the entire 90-minute signing session.
"That's a huge feeling," Cushing said. "That's everything right there. That's what you play for, the fan support. This is to give back to them. The games, and then the opportunity to sign and give back to them, this is what it's all about."