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OTAs quotes: Day 4


The Texans finished their first week of OTAs on Thursday. After practice Texans owner Bob McNair gave the media an update about what had been discussed at this week's owner's meetings.

Texans owner Bob McNair

(on being out at practice today) "It's good to be out and good to see everybody smiling and feeling good and anxious to get back - very positive attitudes."

(on the vote to extend the regular season) "Well, we're still discussing it and I think the feeling is that the preseason, one or two of the preseason games can be converted to regular-season games and that the fans would probably be happy with that. 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 internationals 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."

{QUOTE}(on the possibility of expanding the roster) "The first thing they're doing is looking at the injury reports to see if there's any difference in injuries, say in the playoffs as opposed to regular season and so far the indications are surprising. They're showing that there are fewer injuries in the playoffs, for teams that go into the playoffs. So you have to look at that and try to determine what's the reason for that. But the welfare of the players is of the greatest concern. We don't want to do anything to harm the players and so we'll look at the question of injuries, are there more injuries by virtue of playing more games. We'll look at the rosters and see if you need to address that, if you need to make any changes : Do you need to do anything with injured reserve and do you need to do anything with the bye weeks."

(on the possibilities regarding injured reserve) "Well, the possibilities would be if you allow players to maybe come back from injured reserve. If they go on injured reserve, instead of being out for the year you know, 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."

(on if his expectations are higher than ever) "Yes. I think we're a better team and I'm looking forward to the season. 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."

(on if he's had a chance to visit with the rookies) "I have visited with them; I haven't visited with all of them, but I have had a chance to visit with several of them and it's really a good group. I like them. I think we've got three that were captains of their college teams and most of them got where they are through hard work. You know, it wasn't just natural ability. I think that's good to have that work ethic, and they certainly have it."

(on if the NFL is in a transition period considering the economy and the players union) "It is difficult because we have a soft economy at the same time that we still have a need to build more stadiums, and these stadiums you have are all over a billion dollars now. It just takes a terrific amount of capital in order to keep the league moving in the direction that we're going. It's a real challenge. It's a challenge for our fans and a challenge for our sponsors, and we have to be cognizant of that at all times."

(on what he, as an owner, hopes to see happen) "Well, I'd love to see a booming economy and us win the Super Bowl. There wouldn't be any problems (laughs)."

(on the labor contract) "Well, the management council, working with the Commissioner (Roger Goodell), is dealing with that, and I think that they've said that the first negotiating session is the first of June. So, we'll start getting into that and we'll start laying out what changes we think need to be made and start the negotiating process."

(on if he can discuss any specifics) "No, at this point the Commissioner is speaking for the league and so we defer to him on that."

(on his level of optimism regarding the labor contract) "Well, I know in talking with players and talking with DeMaurice Smith and, you know everybody, certainly the owners, want to see something resolved. So we're all optimistic that that will happen and we're certainly going to work hard to try to make that happen."

Head coach Gary Kubiak

(on LB Cato June and the competition at weakside linebacker with Zac Diles) "He's (June) been on winners. He knows what it's like to be successful in this league and football teams. Right away, he gets respect when he walks into the locker room from that standpoint. He can help our team, too. It will be very competitive at linebacker, as competitive as it's been since I've been here with this team. I think between those two we have an excellent chance to help this football team."

(on DE Antonio Smith's health) "Yeah, he did a little bit today; he did some individual. He wanted to do some team, but I told him we would wait until next week."

(on if there will be a competition at punter with rookie Justin Brantly coming in) "I think it's a few things. It's too hard to go through training camp with two punters and two kickers because of numbers. So we said if we are going to take a look at another young man, let's do it during OTAs. Naturally, he's a local kids and he's an Aggie, which is like five pluses. 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 (Turk) get better."

(on FB Boomer Grigsby) "During the draft, we had our eyes on a couple of fullbacks because Vonta (Leach) played all year by himself. We don't even have another one on our roster, so we started looking in the draft and a couple of guys that we were looking at got drafted late in the draft. So we were looking for a replacement; he had a workout and worked out very well. He was a good special teams player in Miami; Miami kind of got away from a two-back offense, so we was expendable and we feel very fortunate to have him."

(on Grigsby's character) "He's a fine young man. I had a chance to spend some good time with him when he came in. We can offer him a good opportunity to help this football team."

FB Boomer Grigsby

(on his career to this point) "Drafted in '05 by Dick Vermeil, legendary coach. Played for a year, thought I was the future at MIKE linebacker, he retired. Unfortunately, Herm Edwards came in, brought in a new system, a couple of new guys. I kind of stayed as a backup, and then during that second season, our fullback got injured and I got an opportunity to start working on Fridays as a fullback just in case a fourth-and-one situation occurred, just as kind of an emergency, even though I was still playing linebacker. And after the season that year, Herm Edwards came to me and asked me to switch to the offensive side of the ball. Being a third year guy, in the third year of his contract, with a new head coach, you know, I really didn't think I had a lot of power in that position and I was just trying to do whatever I could to survive and stay on the team and fortunately for me, I switched and it worked out. I ended up playing pretty well and took on to it pretty good and ended up starting the end of my career just a couple of games at Kansas City, and then my contract was up and I left and went to Miami and that was a whole 'nother roller coaster ride. I got to be a part of another new regime under Bill Parcels and Coach (Tony) Sparano and, you know, thought I had arrived: four years in the National Football League, two teams, switching positions at the professional level, beating out a good fullback, making the 53-man roster, starting Week 1. And then right when I was sitting down, the chair got pulled out from underneath me. But you know, that's the business. Like I said, it's been a roller coaster; the highs have been high and the lows have been low; there hasn't been a whole lot of moderation. But that's the National Football League."

(on if he left Kansas City by choice) "My contract was up. I could have stayed but, actually, how that went down was I had a three-year deal. A team essentially owns your rights for four years. My three-year contract was up, and Kansas City opted not to tender me, which isn't that unique considering I was only a two- or three-game starter and you'd have been paying a fullback a million dollars and, frankly, I'll be the first to tell you I probably wasn't worth a million dollars. That's a lot of money to pay a fullback unless he's a proven starter stud, kinda like the guy we've got here (Vonta Leach). And it's just a lot of money to pay a guy that's only started a couple of games, so they chose not to tender me and then I became a free agent essentially that morning, on Friday. Miami started calling, a couple of other teams started calling, and then I just felt like I was at a crossroads in my career, like I needed to make a decision and try to go somewhere and go for it and become a starter, and that's what I did. I rolled the dice and went to Miami. I accomplished exactly what I said I was going to. It's just it ended up kinda getting blown out on the back end."

(on how he earned a starting job and got cut after one game) "That's the National Football League. I mean, obviously, we played the Jets (and) we got beat by about 30. Brett Farve 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, but they brought in a fullback right away when they released me. 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. I kinda thought I would have been safe there just 'cause I was the only fullback on the roster, one, and then two, I was starting on every special team. 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. Like I said, it's been a roller coaster ride. It's been a privilege for me and my family. I have more respect for the National Football League than – or, as much as anybody. It's here one day and it's gone the next, and you can't sit on the outside saying 'woe is me; it ain't fair.'"

(on why he got rid of his Mohawk) "I shaved the Mohawk for "Hard Knocks" because me and Jared Allen were in my hometown – you know, that's my twin brother, different mother – and he decided he wanted to grow a mullet. And I'm from a rather blue-collar community like that and I didn't feel like I could really rock a mullet, even though I've got some good curls. So I thought I wanted to be more Indian like and go kinda more Native American and go more tan and Mohawk and just kind of play the blue-collar, crazy country white boy running down on kickoffs. He went his personality, I went mine, and we got to have fun with it."

(on his boot fetish) "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."

(on his situation here) "My situation is what it is. Roles are clearly defined. They've got a great fullback here. He's a stud; he's been around; he's been playing. I decided to come here – obviously, they agreed to sign me, and I wasn't willing to just sign on with any old team. I've been in the NFL and I don't want to come to a team and just be a body. I wanted to come to a team that I had a legit opportunity to play. I've never been a paycheck player, partly because I've never been a major player to even deserve a big paycheck. But I'd rather play in another league where I knew somebody really wanted me than come somewhere just to kind of be a body and think I was going to be released. Houston made it pretty clear to me that it's been a system that's kept two, and I'm definitely here to compete. I hope I can make him (Leach) better or compete with him. If I can get on the field, I'm going to get on the field, but it's also no secret I thought that I'd make a roster covering kicks."

(on if he misses being a linebacker) "You know, I miss it a little bit, but like I said, I'm willing to do whatever I've got to do to survive. If fullback is what it is, it is. I mean, I've always kind of made my living in the National Football League covering kicks, so whether I'm a fullback or a linebacker, as long as the special team coach agrees to use me, then I think we're going to be alright."

(on if "Boomer" is his real name) "It became the real name. I think most people grow out of their nickname, (but) I think I grew more into mine. The day I was born, my grandma named me 'Boomer' the very day I was born. I came out wider than I was long, think I was a little roly-poly-like, and she nicknamed me Boomer and I think a lot of people, like I said, they grow out of their nickname. I grew more into it. Checks are signed with it, names are, it's on bank accounts; it's become who I am, and it's who I'll always be. No one in my family has ever called me James."

(on it being a good football name) "It is. It just worked out. Like I said, I lucked out. I grew into my nickname."

(on the Hebrew tattoo on his arm) "I'm a history buff. That's a longer story. I got this when I was 18 years old and everybody was getting the barbed wire and, like I said, I'm from a rather blue-collar, you know, semi-trashy upbringing where we can have a good time and cut loose a little bit, but I didn't really like the barbed wire look. I wanted it to look cool like the tribal art that people were getting, but have it mean something. So I mixed some Egyptian eyes, a horse with it and tagged some Hebrew. This is Power, Strength and Valor. I'm kind of combining cultures that really didn't get along that well back in the day."

(on if there's any Judaism in his family) "(Laughs) No. I think it looks great, man! Look at it! I mean, how many people got something on their arm that actually means something? A lot of people got all the fancy tribal designs, but it doesn't symbolize anything."

QB Dan Orlovsky

(on coming from an 0-16 team in Detroit) "It was a tough situation. Four years were tough. We were in three really, really difficult seasons. The third may have been the worst because we started off so strong and finished so weak. It was nice to get on somewhere and turn a new page and start anew and get to an organization that you really feel comfortable with and really felt wanted and that you honestly knew was headed toward the right direction. I've been a part of the quarterback carousel kind of thing, and I've been a part of 'who's going to play and what's going to happen' and it will be nice to sit back from that. I learned from Jon Kitna up in Detroit that the best thing for a backup quarterback at the end of the day is to have stability at the starting position. It's nice to get down here and get started with these guys and these coaches and be headed in the direction we are."

(on the team's expectations for next season) "I think our expectations are just to get better. It's OTAs and it's May, like you said, but we all think highly of ourselves as individuals and as a team. Our expectations are to go out and win the game that we are playing that week and right now we can only get as good as we can and prepare for New York. If we are worried about two, three, four, five after that, we are going to win one. You learn quickly in this league that you have to take care of what is in front of you before you can get anything in the future."

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