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OTAs practice report: Day 4


The Texans wrapped up their first day of organized team activities on Thursday with their fourth practice of the week. OTAs resume on Tuesday, May 26.

McNairs on the scene: Texans owner Bob McNair and vice chairman D. Cal McNair returned from NFL owners meetings in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for their first practice of 2009 on Thursday. Afterward, Bob McNair addressed questions concerning the meetings, including the possibility of expanding the regular season to 17 or 18 games.

"I think the feeling is that… one or two of the preseason games can be converted to regular-season games and that the fans would probably be happy with that," McNair said. "I think that most of the players and owners would be happy with it, too. But there are still a lot of details to be worked out. International play enters into it. If you extend the season and it's easier to play international games, it's easier to play a game on a neutral site if that is an opportunity. So we're going to look at it real closely, but no decision's been made yet."

Other topics of discussion at the owners meetings included labor negotiations with the players' union, possible expansion of the 53-man roster and potential changes to the injured reserve system.

"The possibilities (there) would be if you allow players to maybe come back from injured reserve," McNair said. "If they go on injured reserve, instead of being out for the year, maybe they're out 'X' number of games. That's just a way to be able to carry a few more players and add more flexibility; that would be the only reason you'd make that change."

As for what he saw on the practice field, McNair had glowing remarks for the Texans' rookie class and said that his expectations are higher than ever this offseason.

"I think we're a better team and I'm looking forward to the season," he said. "I think we have more speed and more athleticism and a lot of our younger players are a year older, and I certainly feel good about it and feel like this is going to be a big year for us."

Quin does it again: Rookie cornerback Glover Quin ended his first week of practice with an interception for the third consecutive day. He picked off a pass during team portion of drills on Thursday after a ball went through the arms of receiver Mike Jones.

A fourth-round draft pick from New Mexico, Quin led the Mountain West Conference with five interceptions and 16 passes defended in 2008.

"I like the way he moves around and whatnot," defensive coordinator Frank Bush said on Wednesday. "It's still early, but he's made a few big plays out there in our passing game."

{QUOTE}Grigsby determined to earn a spot: Fullback Boomer Grigsby was a popular figure on the HBO series *Hard Knocks *as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2007. He made a name for himself with a high motor, a plethora of tattoos and a Mohawk hairstyle that he said helped him to "play the blue-collar, crazy country white boy running down on kickoffs."

Gone is the Mohawk, but the Canton, Ill., native's relentless work ethic (and tattoos) remain. Grigsby has gone from a Division I-AA All-American linebacker at Illinois State to a special teams standout in Kansas City in 2005-06; from a linebacker to a fullback in 2007; and from the Miami Dolphins' starting fullback in the 2008 season opener to a player without a job when the Dolphins cut him after one game.

"That's the National Football League," Grigsby said. "We played the Jets (and) we got beat by about 30. Brett Favre did some of his miracle stuff and, you know, they fired me and they went to the Wildcat offense where they didn't even use a fullback.

"I think it's the kind of business (we're in)—they say you can never relax. In that situation, I kind of gave it my all, gave it my 100 percent like everyone says, and I did everything I could do. But I refuse to be one of those guys who sits on the outside and says, 'Woe is me.' This entire career has been a blessing. It's been a roller coaster ride."

Grigsby said he wanted to join a team this offseason where he would be more than just a training camp body. The Texans assured him that they normally keep two fullbacks, and they only had one, Vonta Leach. Head coach Gary Kubiak said that the Texans were in need of depth behind Leach after they considered selecting a fullback in the draft.

"(Grigsby) had a workout (here) and worked out very well," Kubiak said. "He was a good special teams player in Miami. Miami kind of got away from a two-back offense, so he was expendable, and we feel very fortunate to have him."

Audition time for Brantly: Rookie punter Justin Brantly, an undrafted free agent from Texas A&M, should have at least until the end of OTAs to audition for a spot in competition with veteran Matt Turk.

"It's too hard to go through training camp with two punters and two kickers because of numbers," Kubiak said. "So we said if we are going to take a look at another young man, let's do it during OTAs."

Brantly averaged 44.3 yards per punt in his four-year Texas A&M career. He is the only punter in A&M history, including perennial All-Pro Shane Lechler, to average at least 43 yards per kick for four consecutive years.

"Naturally, he's a local kid, and he's an Aggie, which is like five pluses," Kubiak, a Texas A&M product, said with a grin. "He's a very good punter, so we thought we would bring him in and take a look at him and he can help Matt get better."

Smith improving: Defensive end Antonio Smith, who had been resting all week while nursing a sore hamstring, participated in individual drills on Thursday.

"He wanted to do some team, but I told him we would wait until next week," Kubiak said.

Quotable: "I love boots. I like country music. I thought Houston would be a good fit. When I was on the plane, I fell asleep listening to Chris LeDoux, woke up listening to George Strait and I figured I might fit in here alright."
– Fullback Boomer Grigsby, on his affinity for boots

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