A record 5,715 fans showed up Monday morning for an open practice at the 2012 Houston Texans Training Camp presented by Xfinity. The promise of popping pads and an up-close look at the defending AFC South champions spurred the record turnout, despite stifling heat and humidity on a work day. With more than 15,000 fans through the first three open practices, camp has been a hit.
In addition to the action on the field, fans are able to enjoy inflatable activities, purchase team gear and memorabilia, interact with other fans and get autographs from Houston Texans Cheerleaders and players. On each of the first three days, players and coaches have stopped and signed for fans on the way to and from practice.
"It's always fun to get to see the fans," defensive end Antonio Smith said after signing autographs on Saturday. "They enjoy themselves and smile and have fun."
Fellow defensive end J.J. Watt agreed with Smith, and especially enjoyed the presence of fans at practice.
"It feels great to get back out there on the field with the guys and coaches and the fans out there," Watt said. "There's definitely an aura of excitement. There are a lot of good feelings so we're just going to work hard every day to make our goals come true."
Three more practices are open to the public. Wednesday morning's workout will be the 'Salute to Service' Day, and members of the military, police and fire departments will be on hand to cheer on the squad. Friday morning is Battle Red Day, while the final open practice of camp is Fan Appreciation Day on Saturday morning.
As they've done in the past, the Texans are hosting a school supply drive and encourage fans to donate at barrels around the Methodist Training Center. All donated supplies will be distributed by the Houston Texans YMCA to children in their area.