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Rookie diary: James Casey



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. In his fifth diary entry for, Casey discusses his offseason activities.*

I hope everybody had a good Fourth of July. We just got back from the NFL Rookie Symposium in West Palm Beach, Fla. Going into it, I was hearing from a lot of the veterans about how boring and how bad it was going to be and that no one likes to be there, but I had a good time. I learned some valuable things and got to hear some great speakers like Mike Tomlin and Cris Carter. Getting to see Hall of Fame guys talking on the panels there was really cool.

Also, Mark Bruner happened to be speaking, and I got to talk to him afterward. Since he's a former Texans tight end, of course we had a lot in common. I'm trying to really stay in contact with him, because he's one resource I can really have that can help me out getting ready for training camp or if I ever have questions on things. But I think the best thing I got out of the symposium was just being able to get to know all the other Texans rookies and our player development guy, Sean Washington, and our chaplain, Greg Tyler – those are the guys that went with us.

Even though I have more time off now to spend with my wife, we honestly haven't been doing too much. This weekend, I'm going to be able to go up to Fort Worth and go watch a friend of mine, Johnny Cooper, who's playing at Billy Bob's, the world's largest honky tonk. I'll also be going home to visit with my dad and my nieces and friends. I'm really excited about it; this'll be my second time now to go back to Fort Worth to see them. In the past couple of years, I haven't been able to go back much because of school and football, and they don't get the chance to come down to Houston much. It's always good when you get to see family and friends and other people that helped you out along the way to allow you to get to the situation I'm in right now. I owe a lot to all of them. Back when I was young, they helped me out a lot, so I really enjoy going back and visiting with them.

I never would have expected to be getting stuff like this, but one of the perks about being an NFL player for now is that I get a Reebok contract and I can spend a certain amount of money on Reebok gear. So I've really been taking advantage of that here lately, trying to get school clothes for my nieces and stuff like that. This weekend, I'm going to go take them shopping at some Reebok outlet stores to get stuff shoes and backpacks and stuff. That's one really cool advantage of being in the situation I'm in right now.

{QUOTE}Aside from going home a couple of times, I've just mainly been straight business. Cris Carter said something that really struck me at the symposium—that a lot of guys in the room that were drafted rookies are only going to have 10 weeks left to ever play football, because you can get cut during training camp and if you don't get picked up, that might be the end of your career. So I'm really not trying to waste my time doing other things that don't involve my work and football. That's my job right now, and I don't want to look back and say, "You know, I was doing this or doing that when I could have been working out more." I still do little things here and there like playing golf, but nothing that would draw too much attention away from football.

Since minicamp, we've been going through the offseason program at the stadium and now it's getting close to training camp, so I'm really starting to pick it up and really try to get ready. I don't really know what to expect at training camp, so I'm just trying to get as prepared as possible. Ray Wright's working us out really hard out on the field with our running out there, getting used to this heat and trying to get prepared for how hot it's going to be during training camp. We're also working out really hard with Ray in the weight room.

I'm watching a ton of film from last season, just trying to see what playing tight end is like in the NFL. I'm mainly watching the routes the tight ends are running and how hard it is to get off the ball. It looks like it might be not as bad as I was thinking, but still, you never know what it's going to be like. On top of that, I've been looking through the playbook a lot, trying to go through everything again for refreshment just to make sure I'm on top of everything going into training camp.

I'm ready for training camp to start. I'm excited. I know the veterans are like, "You're crazy," like, "Why would you be ready for training camp with how hot it is?" But I feel like I've got so much to prove, and I'm so motivated to get out there and play and try to prove to everyone that I can play in the NFL. All of this working out and stuff, it's great to get ready for it, but I'm ready to just put some pads on and get out on the field and start playing some football, get out in a preseason game and actually have all the fans around and see what it's like to actually be an NFL player. I'm ready to just show them what I've got and show them that I can make this team. I'm all antsy about getting started, like the first day of school or something.

Thanks for your continued support, and be sure to come watch us at the open practices at training camp. Hope to see you there.

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