Injuries at play in Cochran move

Defensive end Earl Cochran was effectively released by the Texans today when the team withdrew its tender offer to the unrestricted free agent. Judging by comments made by Texans coach Gary Kubiak in early February, it's Cochran's injury history and not his on-field performance that was the key factor in the decision.

Cochran has good size (6-5, 284) and showed plenty of promise in the past two seasons, including in 2008 when he had sacks in two consecutive games before suffering a season-ending toe injury at Indy on Nov. 16.

"(The injury) concerns me, and the reason it concerns me with a player like Earl is because hehas had a lot of injuries," Kubiak said on Feb. 1. "He's had a lot of nicks throughout his time here with me in the three years I've been here. Earl, when he's on the field and healthy, is a big-time contributor on our football team, but him settling his body down and being out there for 16 weeks is the key to his career, not just next year."

The Texans' defensive end rotation now consists of Mario Williams, Antonio Smith, Tim Bulman, Jesse Nading and Stanley McClover.

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