As offensive linemen Duane Brown and Wade Smith walked up to the line of scrimmage during Thursday's practice, they saw an unexpected guest.
Head coach Gary Kubiak arrived towards the end of practice and was watching from the sideline.
"There goes Kubes!" Brown said.
According to Wade Phillips, the highlight of Thursday's practice was seeing head coach Gary Kubiak pay the team a visit. Smith agreed.
"It was like a shot of energy," Smith said. "It was good seeing him. He came and talked to us. It was good was back and doing well."
Kubiak, 52, looked to be his normal self after experiencing what was diagnosed as a transient ischemic attack (TIA), often referred to as a "mini-stroke." Center Chris Myers felt the best part of seeing Kubiak was the reassurance that he was doing better. The team had not seen or spoken with the head coach since his collapse during halftime of Sunday's 27-24 loss to Indianapolis.
"Yeah, that was a nice little surprise to be able to see Coach Kub out there," Myers said. "After this past game and everything that went down, you're obviously just wondering if he's OK. After the game, you kind of get the assurance and, throughout the next couple of days, you find out exactly what's going on. But you didn't know when you were going to see him next. With that kind of a situation, it's a day-to-day thing. For him to come out and surprise us right in the middle of practice was pretty cool. You're going through your team sessions and you just see him standing him in the corner, it's like seeing a buddy. It's pretty cool to be able to have him out there."
Kubiak , described by linebacker Brooks Reed as "upbeat," even managed to create some confusion with a practical joke he pulled on Ben Jones, thanking him for the poem he wrote.
"You think I could be a poet?" Jones laughed. "I think he set me up for that one but I'm just glad he's doing well and that we got to see his face out there."
Kubiak thanked the players, who had been sending him well wishes and support via texts and messages. He also had a simple message for them.
"He just thanked everyone for our support and kind words and prayers," Brown said. "He told us how much he missed being out there. He just told us the faith he had in us to get the job done on Sunday and that he would come back as soon as he would be able to."
On Sunday the Texans travel to University of Phoenix stadium to take on the Arizona Cardinals without Kubiak. Interim head coach Wade Phillips has assumed Kubiak's responsibilities while he re-cooperates. The players want to win Sunday's game for their coach who they feel has sacrificed so much for them.
"We're going to lay it on the line," Johnathan Joseph said. "We do it each and every Sunday, but I'm sure we're going to have an extra little pump in our step, just for Coach Kub. Because we know what it means to him and, to not have him with us on the road, it's going to get us even more motivated."