* HOUSTON* – The Houston Texans have agreed to a contract extension with G/T Zach Wiegert and contracts with unrestricted free agents OT Ephraim Salaam and RB Antowain Smith, it was announced today.
Wiegert (6-5, 296) has started at both right guard and right tackle in his three years in Houston. He originally signed with the Texans as an unrestricted free agent in 2003, leaving division rival Jacksonville. Wiegert, who is entering his 12 th year in the NFL, was a second-round pick by the St. Louis Rams in the 1995 NFL draft. The 33-year-old has played in 136 games with 128 starts in 11 pro seasons.
The former Nebraska standout has been a staple on the Texans line over the last three years. Wiegert has helped RB Domanick Davis average better than 1,000 per season over the last three seasons. Wiegert started the first five games of the 2005 season at right guard before an ankle injury sidelined him for four weeks. He returned to the lineup at right tackle and spent the last seven games in that position.
Salaam (6-7, 300) played in five games with two starts while battling injuries last season for Jacksonville. The eight-year veteran has played in 110 games with 99 starts in his career. By joining the Texans, Salaam is reunited with Houston head coach Gary Kubiak, who was the offensive coordinator in Denver in 2002 and 2003 while Salaam was a member of the Broncos.
Smith (6-2, 232) has rushed for 6,881 yards and 54 touchdowns in nine seasons. The former University of Houston star has proven to be a threat as a receiver out of the backfield as well, with 136 career receptions for 982 yards and three touchdowns. Smith started seven of 16 games in 2005 with New Orleans and carried the ball 166 times for 659 yards and three scores. He also caught 12 passes for 46 yards and returned one kickoff for 30 yards.
Salaam and Smith are the third and fourth players signed this offseason who bring Super Bowl experience to Houston, joining FB Jameel Cook and DE N.D. Kalu. Salaam started at RT in Super Bowl XXXIII for Atlanta as a rookie, while Smith started at RB in Super Bowls XXXVI and XXXVIII for New England.