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Rick Smith addresses Heads Up Football to youth

The sideline was teeming with thrilled youth football players on Wednesday afternoon as the Cy-Fair Sports Association's Spillane Texans attended Houston Texans practice as part of the Heads Up Football initiative. The comprehensive youth football membership program, developed by USA Football and supported by the NFL, aims at further strengthening youth player safety.

The 30 youngsters had the opportunity to watch the team run drills, meet players and get a personal demonstration of proper, safe tackling from general manager Rick Smith. Smith addressed many issues to the group such as staying in school, the importance of teamwork, and the most effective and clean ways to hit an opponent.

"I think it's important that we teach proper technique and remind these young men of the proper ways to tackle, wear their equipment and the certification process that we have for the coaches," Smith said. "All of those elements that are present in the USA Football program are very, very good for us."

The two "Texans" teams mingled and talked about their upcoming games this Sunday. J.J. Watt, Duane Brown, Johnathan Joseph, and Case Keenum were among the players who signed autographs for the kids, and head coach Gary Kubiak even joked that he'd review their game film.

Eleven-year-old Logan McDougald and his teammates took in all the excitement from the edge of the field, delighted to be in the presence of their NFL heroes.

"It's awesome to be out here at Texans practice," McDougald said. "I'm excited about seeing my favorite player, J.J. Watt. And it's good to learn about safety in football so you don't get hurt and can play for a long time. You can have a longer career that way."

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