Skip to main content

Hodgdon excited to be back with Texans


Former Texans fifth-round pick Drew Hodgdon is happy to be back with the team.

Drew Hodgdon got over being released by the Texans in the preseason. He is self-motivated. He immediately started a workout routine, expecting to get a call from some NFL team needing a versatile, hard-working offensive lineman.

That was fine for a while. But the call never came.

Until this week.

"In the first couple of weeks, it's easy," Hodgdon said. "But you get into Week 6, Week 8 goes by and then it gets tough. When you're not doing anything else, it's easier."

{QUOTE}Hodgdon was the Texans' fifth round pick in the 2005 draft. He played in 11 games and started eight at center over two seasons. Early this year, he became expendable and the long wait started.

He kept himself busy. He got a routine and stuck to it. Yes, there were a few calls, but they never worked out.

"Every player is used to regimen and that's what I tried to do," Hodgdon said. "Every day I'd get up at 7:30. I'd lift and run in the afternoon. I'd get some variety, run around Memorial Park to switch it up."

A 6-3, 291-pound giant with a huge tattoo on his back running with the chug-along joggers surely created a scene. It wasn't the kind of attention Hodgdon wanted. He jumped at the chance to return to the team that drafted him out of Arizona State.

He's not starting over with a new organization. He's just returning to familiar faces and surroundings.

"I'm familiar with the front office and it helps me not to have to learn a new offense," Hodgdon said. "To go to a different team and expect to play, it takes a couple of weeks just to get a grip on the playbook. So it's an advantage for me and good to be back."

The Texans found a need for Hodgdon because of continuing injuries on the offensive line. Starting right guard Fred Weary and backup center Chris White both were lost with injuries in Sunday's loss at Tennessee.

Coach Gary Kubiak is busy this week auditioning offensive linemen to fill the injury gaps for Sunday's game against Tampa Bay.

Rookies Brandon Frye and Kasey Studdard and practice squad player Mike Brisiel are trying to fit into the mix on the offensive line.

"We'll probably settle on two of them and play them extensively throughout the game," Kubiak said. "That's the way we'll handle it.

"They all are a little nervous. They understand what's at stake and the opportunity for all of them to step in there and be a player. We'll go back and look at it and evaluate them.

"They understand what's going on and we'll see who takes advantage of it."

Hodgdon is a likely backup at center. He hopes to be impressive enough to get into the game, too. After being off the team for most of the season, Hodgdon is eager to make the most of his chance.

"Any player would have liked to get the call sooner than Week 12, but better late than never," Hodgdon said.

"I've been paying attention looking for a place to get a job back. You see some moves that have been made and you never hope for anyone to get hurt, but that was the situation and they needed help and that's what I'm here to do."

The Texans lost Steve McKinney earlier this season, and with White gone, Hodgdon thinks he provides quality depth at center.

"That's where they really need someone if Mike goes down, but really most of the time in this league you've got to be ready to play any of the inside three positions," Hodgdon said.

Kubiak isn't evaluating the players solely on their performance this week. He has other input. Hodgdon has played for the Texans. Brisiel has been on the practice squad. Studdard saw action at Tennessee.

"You're not making (a decision) on just this week," Kubiak said. "You're tying it in with all that's happened since they've been here. You've got two kids with very little experience and Brisiel, even though he hasn't played, has a lot of experience because he's been here two years.

"We'll see how they handle what we're doing game plan-wise, who's working the best with Mike (Flanagan). A lot of things go into that. It won't be just what we see today or tomorrow."

All Hodgdon cares about is he's back in uniform with a team.

"The vast majority of players are going to be confronted with this in some form or another," he said. "With free agency, a lot of guys get released.

"You've got to find a way to stay motivated, continue to work out on your own and wait for a call.

"Most of my career, I've been a self-motivated guy. I've been able to rely on that and get used to it. It's something I'm accustomed to."

Being off the team is a feeling Hodgdon doesn't want to experience again.

"It's hard be a part of a team for a decade and then go to a situation where you're an individual," he said.

Kubiak knows what's going through the backup players' minds. He was a backup quarterback in Denver for many years.

"You can say what you want, but you know at the end of the week if you're not the guy," Kubiak said. "Then, you wake up one morning and you might just be the guy. It's different."

Kubiak includes backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels in his assessment.

"You can tell the difference in Sage and the guys," Kubiak said. "It's opportunity. In this league, if you ever step on the field and you do it, they can't ever take that away from you."

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. *

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content