Aaron Glenn was one of the Texans' first players and first Pro Bowlers. At a press conference at Reliant Stadium on Wednesday, he became the first to sign a one-day contract to retire with the team.
The move ended a 15-year NFL career that saw Glenn, a cornerback, make three Pro Bowls, including one with the Texans in their inaugural 2002 season. The third pick in the team's 2002 Expansion Draft, Glenn recorded 11 interceptions and started in all 43 games in which he played in three seasons in Houston.
"It felt good to come here to an expansion team because I felt a sense of responsibility," Glenn said. "I felt like this was an opportunity for me to say, 'You know what, this is my team,' and Coach (Dom) Capers put me in charge of the team. Not just the defense, but the whole team.
"To have a sense of responsibility for a team, I felt this was the best thing to do. And plus, it's my hometown. I believe that where you learn and where you get your roots from is where you should retire. I was lucky to have a chance to play at home, and that's why I'm retiring here."
A native of the Houston suburb of Humble, Glenn played at Navarro Junior College in Corsicana, Texas, before starring at Texas A&M. He was drafted 12th overall by the New York Jets in 1994 and spent eight seasons there before joining the Texans.
Glenn played for the Dallas Cowboys from 2005-06 before one-year stints with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2007) and New Orleans Saints (2008). In all, he played in 205 career games and totaled 41 interceptions, six defensive touchdowns and 638 tackles.
"Congratulations, Aaron," Texans owner Bob McNair said to Glenn after he and general manager Rick Smith signed the one-day contract. "It's nice to have you back as a Texan."
McNair recalled some of his favorite memories of Glenn, including his two interceptions returned for a touchdown in a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2002.
"Aaron was one of our first players, and during those early days, we were really concerned about bringing the right kind of people in and people that would add the right mix to our team," McNair said. "We needed some players who were veterans to provide some leadership, and we were fortunate that we were able to make a deal with the Jets so that we could get Aaron down here.
"Aaron provided a lot of leadership in the secondary. He was the guy that everybody looked up to, and he's the one that took the lead and showed them how the game should be played and how to conduct themselves off the field."
That sentiment was echoed in glowing comments about Glenn from his former NFL coaches, including Capers, Pete Carroll, Bill Belichick and Bill Parcells. The remarks were played aloud during the press conference by Texans director of communications Kevin Cooper.
Glenn made it a point to thank each of those coaches during his heartfelt remarks Wednesday. He also thanked his family and friends as they looked on during the press conference, which also was attended by Glenn's Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum; McNair's wife, Janice; a throng of reporters; Texans president Jamey Rootes; Texans coach Gary Kubiak and several Texans assistants, including special teams coordinator Joe Marciano and linebackers coach Johnny Holland ; and at least 30 Texans staff members, several who were with the team in 2002.
"It was very emotional," Glenn said afterward. "I think I did OK by holding it in. I don't think my voice was as clear as it should've been, but you know, that's OK. That's part of it. It's an emotional thing and it's an emotional time to know that it's over. Today was closure for me. It felt good to really know and say to myself that it's over."
Glenn already is moving full-speed ahead with his post-football life. He said he's looking forward to making up for lost time with his wife and three kids and that he still works out like he was in the NFL. He owns Frenchy's, a popular fried chicken restaurant in Houston, and is involved in the construction business.
He also serves as a Texans Ambassador, appearing at games and community events, and expressed interest Wednesday in joining the Texans' front office in some capacity working under Smith.
"I have (considered it), and I've been approached with that," he said. "The thing is, it's a situation where it's a slow process, and I understand that. As the days go by and months go by, hopefully I will be a part of it. I think I will be. It's a place that's opened doors for me, and I think that I'd do a good job here for the Texans. Hopefully, that day will present itself sometime down in the future, and I'm looking forward to it."