The Texans are placing rookie kicker Randy Bullock on injured reserve with a groin injury and inside linebacker Darryl Sharpton on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list with a hip injury.
Veteran Shayne Graham will be the Texans' kicker in 2012. Bullock, a fifth-round draft pick from Texas A&M, missed three days of practice last week. He handled all of the Texans' kicks through three quarters at New Orleans on Saturday night before the team discovered a torn muscle on Sunday afternoon.
"It had been bothering him for a couple of weeks, and he continued to kick through it," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "He's very tough. Kicked very well last night, came in here today black and blue and we ran some tests on him, so a sad situation. He's going to kick in this league. He's going to kick a long time."
Bullock and Graham were competing all offseason for the kicker job. Bullock was 3-of-4 on field goals in preseason games, with a long of 52 yards and a miss wide right from 51. Graham, a 12th-year veteran, is 5-of-5 with conversions from 48, 49 and 53. He has consistently kicked the ball 3-5 yards into the end zone on kickoffs.
"It was right down the middle between those two guys," Kubiak said. "I think we would've been proud with either of 'em. This situation obviously calls for Shayne to move forward and be our guy."
Graham, 34, is the fourth-most accurate kicker in NFL history. He has made 85.9 percent (214-of-249) of his career field goals – 92.5 percent (149-of-161) from inside 40 yards, 80 percent (56-of-70) from 40-49 and 50 percent (9-of-18) from 50-plus. He has played for seven teams since 2010, making 18-of-19 field goals.
Bullock, a native of Spring just north of Houston, was the first kicker ever drafted by the Texans and the first of four kickers taken in this year's draft. He won the Lou Groza Award at Texas A&M in 2011 after making 29-of-33 field goals.
Sharpton, a third-year linebacker out of Miami (Fla.), suffered a setback in his rehab from a 2011 quadriceps injury early in training camp. Tim Dobbins and Mister Alexander are the Texans' top inside linebackers behind Brian Cushing and Bradie James. Entering camp, the Texans expected Sharpton to compete for a starting job with James. *
*By being placed on the PUP list, Sharpton must sit out the first six games of the season. He will not count against the active roster. The Texans will have the option to activate him six weeks into the season.