Rookie cornerback Sherrick McManis joined the Texans for the first time at the team's sixth practice of organized team activities (OTAs) on Tuesday.
A fifth-round draft pick, McManis recently completed his final coursework for the spring semester at Northwestern University. He will graduate from the school with a communications degree in June.
McManis did not practice on Tuesday due to lingering injuries from before the draft.
"It's good to have him here," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said after practice. "We've got to get him healthy. He and (Ben) Tate are probably on the same program right now as we evaluate them before we put them out there."
Baby on board
Second-year tight end James Casey, who drew praise from Kubiak last week for his performance in practice, was not with the team on Tuesday.
Casey was at the hospital with his wife, Kylie. The couple is expecting their first child, a son named Cannon.
"We're wishing him well," Kubiak said. "We thought it was going to happen yesterday, but it didn't. So hopefully it happens today and everything is OK."
Growing expectationsThe Texans had high expectations for cornerback Antwaun Molden when they drafted him in the third round in 2008.
Molden mostly met those expectations as a rookie, thriving on special teams before suffering a serious ankle injury in Week 14. The following season, he played in only four games due mostly to a quad injury.
Now healthy, he's been a full participant in OTAs, and the expectations for Molden are going back up.
"They grow every day," Kubiak said. "Today we were in stretches, and I called (defensive coordinator) Frank (Bush) over and I said I was really impressed with how far he has come. He's a very talented young player that's had a hard time staying on the field. If he can stay healthy, he has a chance to be a dang good football player, so we'll keep our fingers crossed."
Leading the packThrough six days of OTAs, strong safety Bernard Pollard has emerged as the clear-cut leader of the Texans' young secondary.
"He's the old guy in the group, and he's not that old," Kubiak said of Pollard, 25. "He's still a young player, and those guys look to him. He knows what's going on, and he'd played for David (Gibbs) before. He kind of sets a tone for what we're doing back there."
That's what he said
"It's a big edge. When your leader's being vocal and being confident and leading drills and talking up everybody, it gives you that extra momentum and extra push. It makes you feel like, 'You know what? We ain't taking nothing from anybody. We're going to come out and we're going to fight, and we're going to claw and we're going to scratch, and we're going to be the toughest secondary in the NFL.'"
- CB Glover Quin on Bernard Pollard's leadership in the secondary