The Texans' first week of organized team activities (OTAs) wrapped up on Thursday with their fourth practice in as many days.
Wide receiver Andre Johnson returned to the team after sitting out for the first three days because of a contract dispute, saying afterward that he "didn't feel right" being away from his teammates (full story).
As they did on Tuesday, the Texans ran 11-on-11 full-team drills for long portions of practice. They did 7-on-7 and individual drills on Monday and Wednesday.
Praise for FosterThe Texans are working with a crowded backfield that includes Arian Foster, Steve Slaton, Ryan Moats, Jeremiah Johnson and Chris Henry. Second-round draft pick Ben Tate did not practice this week because of a hamstring injury.
With one week of OTAs in the books, head coach Gary Kubiak shared his thoughts on the group of running backs.
"I've been impressed with Foster," Kubiak said. "(He) went from first year to second year a big jump, just (from) watching him practice. Steve is sitting here lining up as a two and he started 15 games two years ago. Hasn't said a word, just working, and that's been very impressive.
"We need to get the young kid (Tate) out here. The other two guys (Johnson and Henry), they've got some ability, and we need to see what happens when we put the pads on."
Moats has been away from the team for the past two days to deal with a family issue. Kubiak said that they hope to have him back at practice on Monday.
Kickers on hold
A minor hamstring injury to Neil Rackers has put one of the biggest competitions of the Texans' offseason on hold, at least for a week.
Rackers was brought in as a free agent to compete with Kris Brown, the Texans' kicker since the team began playing in 2002, but the Texans didn't do much place-kicking in their first four OTA practices.
"What we want to do is create a competitive environment for Neil and Kris," Kubiak said. "We'll create a competitive environment in front of the whole team so we can look at them. Everybody knows it's going to be a competitive situation, so hopefully we can get that, but we've got to get Neil healthy."
A couple of wide receivers were sidelined by injuries Thursday.
Veteran Glenn Martinez was pulled out of practice because of a hamstring issue. Trey Stross, an undrafted rookie from Iowa, sat out of practice with an undisclosed foot injury. Stross was injured during practice on Wednesday.
McNair honoredTexans owner Bob McNair, who graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1958, will be inducted into the state of South Carolina's Athletic Hall of Fame on Monday. It's the state's highest athletic honor.
McNair is a member of the hall's 50th anniversary class with seven others, including Bill Currier, a South Carolina alum who played defensive back the Houston Oilers; Horace Grant, who starred at Clemson before winning four NBA titles; and Courtney Shealy Hart, a gold medalist swimmer in the 2000 Olympics.
"I'm honored to be included with a great group of athletes," McNair said. "I'm looking forward to it, and I was quite pleased by it and surprised. I'm very happy about it."
"Like I said before, I plan on being a Texan 'til the day I retire, and my feelings haven't changed… You've never seen me going to the media and saying I wanted a new contract. You've never seen me going to the media and saying I wanted to be traded. That's just hearsay."
- WR Andre Johnson, on speculation that he might want to force a trade
"I ate dinner a lot better last night. I was at Pappas Burgers, so I'll give them a plug. They called and told me that he was coming, so dinner was a lot more enjoyable."
- Texans coach Gary Kubiak, on what his reaction was when he found out that Johnson would be reporting to OTAs
"It's nothing bad. It's just always jokes. Vonta (Leach) always cracks jokes about people coming to pick me up on jets and things like that, but nothing like that happens. He's just giving me a hard time."
- Johnson, on getting grief from his teammates on Thursday