Rookie diary: James Casey

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EDITOR'S NOTE:Tight end James Casey, *drafted in the fifth round (152nd overall) this April, is a former minor league baseball player who joined the Texans as a 24-year-old rookie from Rice. He has been chronicling his rookie season with weekly diary entries for HoustonTexans.com.*

The Miami game was a big-time win for us. Everybody knew it was like a playoff atmosphere and an elimination game, and for us to go down there and get a winning record and stay alive for the playoffs was huge. It set up for a big-time game against New England at home.

It's our final game of the regular season; there's no reason to hold anything back. We have to go out there and give everything we've got, leave everything on the field. We've worked all year long through all the OTA's and training camp, all the practices we've been through to get to this situation, so I can't wait. It's been tough to practice this whole week because I'm so excited about getting out there and playing on Sunday. It's going to be a lot of fun.

We know we're still alive for the playoffs, which is awesome at this point of the year. But first of all, we've got to take care of business against New England. They're a great team; everybody knows that. There's been speculation on whether they're going to play their starters or not, but that has no effect on us as a team. We're planning as if they're going to play their starters the whole game. There's no other way to plan. Whoever they play, we know they're a great team, and we're getting ready to play as hard as we can and try to get the job done.

{QUOTE}If we do play really well and come up with a win against New England, then it'd be a crazy evening. Everybody knows we have to have two of those three teams lose, and they all play afternoon games, so we'd be able to watch them all. We're really going to be rooting for Kansas City, Oakland and Cincinnati to win. But like I said, it doesn't mean anything unless we take care of business against New England.

I got a unique chance to be able to go to the Texas Bowl on New Year's Eve and watch that game from the stands. It was kind of coming full circle. I was in the Texas Bowl last year playing for Rice, and now to be able to watch the Texas Bowl in my home stadium, it was really unique.

It's crazy what a difference a year makes. To think that at this time last year, I was playing in a bowl game, and now I'm trying to get into the playoffs against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, it's pretty wild. But I was extremely blessed in 2009. I had a great year with football and also my wife getting pregnant. It was the best year of my life so far, for sure, and I'm really looking forward to 2010.

I'd like to wish Happy New Year to everybody and I hope everyone has a great year in 2010. I hope everyone can come out to the game against New England and really create an electric atmosphere to try to help us out and be as loud as you can when they're on offense, because we're going to need everybody. This is a big-time game, they're a great team, and we're going to need everything to try to get this done.

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