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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 sixth diary entry for, Casey discusses a busy week and the MLB All-Star Game.

Like I mentioned in my last diary entry, I went up to Billy Bob's in Fort Worth last weekend to watch my friend Johnny Cooper perform in concert. It was really cool. Growing up in the Fort Worth area, I went to Billy Bob's a couple of times to see guys like Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. So to actually know the guy that's on stage, go backstage to talk to him and actually see the band room where they hang out, that was neat. I've always been fascinated with the behind-the-scenes thing in music, and a lot of legends have been back there before at Billy Bob's. It was a really fun time.

I saw that Glover Quin signed his contract the other day. That's good news for him. I'm not signed right now, but I'll get signed pretty soon. I have to, because our first day to report is the 26th and our first practice is the 31st, so I don't have much longer to get to signing. I really don't know anything about the situation. I trust my agent, Jeff Nally, with everything, so he's handling all the issues. I think they just now started talking about it, so it'll get done pretty soon.

I've had a busy week around town. I spent a few days at Houston Baptist University at an Air It Out Passing Camp, a camp for junior high and high school kids that Charlie Ward helped to set up. There were some other NFL guys there like Kevin Kolb and Donnie Avery, who both played at U of H, along with some ex-Oiler receivers. I spent some time working with kids on the deep ball and goal line techniques. I also went and talked to some kids at a youth impact program at Rice on Wednesday, which I think was an NFL sanctioned camp.

On top of those camps, on Friday I filmed a segment for a show called Latina Voices. I think the show airs on PBS. They invited me to come on and just kind of tell my story, and it was a great time. There was a three-woman panel, and I have a connection with one of the ladies, Sophia, through Rice. I don't know how big this show is, but I'm about a quarter Hispanic, so it was obviously a great thing to be able to do.

{QUOTE}One of my friends, Chas Skelly, is an MMA fighter, and I went to watch him on Saturday at a fight called Urban Rumble Championship 5 in Conroe. I grew up through high school with him; he was a state champion wrestler who's starting to do the MMA thing now. He started off his career 3-0, so I was really excited about being able to watch him this weekend. I'd never actually seen an MMA fight before.

A few fans have written in and asked if I follow baseball very much since I played in the minor leagues before I went to Rice. I'm not a die-hard baseball fan because I saw so much of it when I was playing, but I do keep track of it a little bit. I watched the Home Run Derby and most of the All-Star Game last week. I really like to see all of the best players come together. Watching the derby makes me want to go out there and start hitting a little bit – I was a pitcher, so I didn't get to hit at all. But I think it's pretty cool how the All-Star Game is a real game that they're actually trying to win. It makes it entertaining and fun to watch for me.

I saw President Obama go out for the first pitch wearing my old team's jacket at the beginning of the game. I'm still a White Sox fan myself because they're the ones who drafted me and gave me a chance to play professional baseball. So it was kind of cool to see the President out there wearing a White Sox jacket. Back in the day, I used to wear White Sox jackets, too.

I know there was a lot of discussion on ESPN about Obama's pitch, whether it hit the ground before Albert Pujols caught it. I tell you what, though: I threw out the first pitch once at a Rice baseball game. It's tougher than it looks. The average fan might think it's easy to throw that ball across the plate into that little shoebox of a strike zone, but there are a lot of movements that go into it and it's a pretty far throw. The reason I didn't make it in baseball was because I didn't throw strikes all the time, so I definitely have sympathy for him.

It's funny, though, because I remember when I was drafted in the seventh round with the White Sox. At the time, I had high hopes of getting to the Major Leagues and making the All-Star game one day myself. I think about that when I'm watching it, that maybe I could've been at the All-Star game as a baseball player, but it didn't happen. Fortunately for me, everything worked out. I'm a big believer that things happen for a reason. I'm blessed to be in the situation I'm in right now, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

I appreciate everyone who's been reading this, and I'm excited to hopefully get a chance to meet some people and get to know them out at the training camp practices. I'm super excited about camp starting. I know it's going to be tough, but I'm pumped about finally putting the pads on and trying to show that I have what it takes to make the team and help the team win. Thanks for your support.

*James Casey rookie diary archive *7/10: Rookie symposium; preparing for camp

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