It's been almost a year to the day since running back Arian Foster was cut by the Texans. As an undrafted rookie out of Tennessee, he ran for a team-high 16 carries for 49 yards in the Texans' Sept. 4, 2009, preseason finale at Tampa Bay, and was released one day later.
Foster has come so far in a year's time that he didn't even play in last night's preseason finale against the Buccaneers. That's because he's not only secure with a place on the roster, but a place in the starting lineup.
"It's humbling, man," he said in the locker room last night's game. "You've been on both sides, so you kind of realize what everybody's going through mentally and physically out there vying for jobs. I know what it's like. I felt what they were going through, and it makes me work just as hard because I know how easily it can go from great to bad, bad to worse. However you make it in this league, you've got to make sure you stay there."
A day after he was cut in 2009, Foster was signed to the Texans' practice squad. He was called up to the active roster 10 weeks later and wound up rushing for 216 yards and three touchdowns in the last two games of the season. He averaged 6.0 yards per carry this preseason to solidify his standing atop the depth chart.
He's not resting on his laurels, still playing with a chip on his shoulder from going undrafted and treating every play like it's his last. But after last night's game, did Foster get a sense of how just far he's come?
"I mean, you see it; yeah," he said. "You see it. It's a big deal. But at the end of the day, it's a short walk from the penthouse to the doghouse, so you've just got to keep on pushing."