Whitney Mercilus is no longer a Texan.
The veteran defensive lineman was released by the team on Tuesday, and his 11 years with the club came to an end.
General Manager Nick Caserio, in an appearance with Texans Radio, explained the reason behind the decision. He pointed to the additional playing time now available for younger defensive linemen like Jonathan Greenard, DeMarcus Walker, Jacob Martin and Charles Omenihu.
"It gives some other players maybe another opportunity to go out there and play and perform," Caserio said. "We've had some players early in the season, JG, D-Walk, Jacob Martin, some other guys. Charles has played a little bit earlier. This presents opportunities for some other players, so the door's open right now."
Mercilus exits with 134 games played, the most in franchise history behind LS Jon Weeks and WR Andre Johnson. Only DE J.J. Watt has more sacks with the Texans than Mercilus' 57, and Mercilus is second in just about every other pass-rushing category.
His time in Houston spanned three different head coaches, from Gary Kubiak when he was drafted in 2012, through Bill O'Brien from 2014 to 2020, and with David Culley in 2021.
Extremely active in the community, Caserio noted the profound impact Mercilus had across the franchise and the City of Houston.
"I know there's a lot of respect and admiration for Whitney and what he's done for this organization," Caserio said. "He's meant a lot to a lot of people. He's done a lot of great things on the field and in the community -- a lot of great relationships with a number of different people and different teammates. So anytime you do something like this, it's always difficult, but ultimately, we have to make a decision, and we have to move forward."
The Texans will practice Wednesday at the Houston Methodist Training Center. On Sunday in Arizona, they'll face the Cardinals at 3:25 p.m. CT.
The next time you can see the Texans at NRG Stadium will be on October 31 as they host the Los Angeles Rams in Week 8. Kickoff is set for noon CT. Click here for tickets.