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 joins the Texans as a 24-year-old rookie from Rice. In his fourth diary entry for HoustonTexans.com, Casey looks back on his first month with the Texans.

Now that OTAs and minicamp are over with, it's time to get ready for training camp. Looking back, I didn't know really what to expect going in. But I definitely feel like every day I got here, I got better.

Coming in, I wanted to prove that I could be a blocker. I expected it to be really physical because in college, I wasn't really attached to the line of scrimmage with my hand down doing the blocking thing. As we went along here, I got better and better and more confident at it. Toward the end, I think I showed them that I can hopefully be a capable blocker – and I've got to prove to the team that I can block or obviously, I'm not going to be on the team.

As far as getting in the slot and doing the motion stuff with the tight end running routes, I did a lot of that in college, so I'm comfortable doing that. Hopefully, I'm proving to the team that I can be trusted doing that and I can be a good blocker. After these first practices, I'm very optimistic that I'm capable of being an NFL tight end. I started to prove to myself every day, "Hey, I can do this. I can play in the NFL."

We can't practice or get out on the field with the coaches for the next month or so, but I can still stay in the playbook, come up to the facility and make sure I've got all the plays going into training camp. Of course, I've also got to work out, try to get bigger, stronger, faster and do a lot of running and make sure when I come into camp, I'm in my best shape I've ever been so I can really showcase what I can do.

{QUOTE}Between now and camp, I think we have 12 mandatory workouts. Aside from that, we can kind of come up and work out on our own and run whenever we'd like to. I live right down the street, so I'll for sure be up here every day looking at the playbook and making sure I get everything down, looking at film, looking at cut-ups, watching all the plays from last season.

I'm excited about training camp, because that's when I've really got to prove myself along with the preseason games. My job right now is to show the coaching staff and players that I can help the Texans win, and if I can do that, I think I'll get some respect and I can hopefully make the team.

I don't have much planned for our time off. We've got a rookie symposium we have to go to at the end of June, I think June 28 and 29 in Florida. All the drafted rookies go to it, and they kind of tell you what's to be expected as an NFL player and maybe try to warn you about some stuff not to do. That'll take a couple of days, and then I'll come back from that.

I'll probably go back home some weekend to Azle, which is about 20 miles outside of Forth Worth, to visit my dad and family and friends. It'll be the first time I've been back and seen my friends from high school, and coming from a small town like Azle and going back as an NFL player, it'll feel kind of cool when I see people I haven't seen in a long time and seeing how everything's going with everybody.

I have a lot of friends and a lot of family there, and I wouldn't trade growing up in Azle for anything. They took really took care of me there when I was growing up. So it'll be really nice to go there and hang out for a while, just probably for a weekend or something before I come back and get right back to work.

For now, I'm basically all focused on training camp. July 31 is our first day of camp, so it's not far away, so I've got to make sure I'm ready for that. I don't have time to really goof around or go take a long vacation or anything. Maybe when I'm a veteran I can do that, but as a rookie, I'm straight business right now.

As always, thanks to everyone for their support and for reading. I'll be sure to check back in with everybody on HoustonTexans.com before camp.

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To send in a question for Casey that you'd like to see answered in a future diary entry, click *[here](mailto:nscurfield@houstontexans.com?subject=Question for James Casey).*

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