Texans coach Gary Kubiak announced that Kris Brown (left) will be released on Saturday. Neil Rackers (right) will replace him as the Texans' kicker.
Texans coach Gary Kubiak announced on Friday afternoon that kicker Kris Brown, cornerback Jacques Reeves and quarterback John David Booty will be released from the team. He also said that wide receiver André Davis (hip/tailbone) is likely headed for the reserve/injured list.
Kubiak did not disclose the rest of the team's roster cuts, which will become official on Saturday at 3 p.m. CT. That's the deadline for all NFL teams to reduce their rosters from 75 players to 53.
"There's still a lot of work to do on our roster from a standpoint of practice squad and those type of things, but I'm more than (happy) to answer your questions," Kubiak said to the media gathered at his press conference at Reliant Stadium. "There may be some that I can't answer."
Brown's release means that Neil Rackers, who signed as a free agent from the Arizona Cardinals this offseason, will be the Texans' kicker in 2010. Brown has played in every game in franchise history and was the last original Texan remaining on the roster.
"We had a great kicking battle going on between him and Neil, and (it was) very close," Kubiak said. "From a field goal standpoint, to me, was as even as you could get. The deciding factor for me was the kickoffs. I really like what Neil does from that standpoint. I think he drives the ball.
"So it was a tough, tough call. Obviously, I have a lot of respect for Kris and what he's done here and what he's done as a kicker, but we made a decision to go in another direction, and we've got a lot of confidence in Neil."
Kubiak also announced that the Texans worked out free agent running backs Derrick Ward and Justin Fargas on Friday. Behind starting running back Arian Foster, the Texans are hoping to have running back Steve Slaton (toe strain) available for opening day. The roster status of Jeremiah Johnson (dislocated toe) and Chris Henry remains unknown.
"We've got a running back issue on our football team right now, so we'll be talking to a bunch of people," Kubiak said. "Those are two we talked to today and worked out. We'll be looking at the waiver wire very, very closely."
The Texans are likely to keep five wide receivers, and it looks like the fifth one will be rookie Dorin Dickerson.
Kubiak indicated as much when asked if he's worried about other teams picking up Dickerson if the Texans try to place him on the practice squad.
"I'm not worried about that at all," Kubiak said. "It's not going to happen."
Booty, 25, will be released despite setting a Texans preseason record with 207 passing yards against the Bucs on Thursday night. Kubiak said that he's confident with Dan Orlovsky as the backup to Matt Schaub, although he expects the Texans to add another quarterback soon to the roster or practice squad.
"J.D. (Booty) could be that guy," Kubiak said. "As of tomorrow, we'll be down to two. We've got other issues with our team and that's one of the things that are keeping us at that number right now."
Reeves, 28, signed with the Texans as a free agent from the Dallas Cowboys in 2008. He started all 16 games in his first season in Houston, leading the team with four interceptions. He played in 12 games with five starts in 2009.
The Texans will enter the season with five cornerbacks on their roster. The senior member of the group will be Antwaun Molden, who has two seasons of NFL experience.
"We were going young at that position," Kubiak said. "We just feel good about our young group. Obviously, we're trying to get Molden healthy. His ankle is bothering him a little bit; he missed practice today. But we made a decision to go young there as a group. We feel good about it. It's about as young a group as I've ever been around, but they've been very effective. They've played very good."