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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 10th diary entry for, Casey discusses his first game at Reliant Stadium.

I had a lot of family and friends here at the game on Saturday – my wife, mother in law, a lot of friends from Rice and friends from Azle, my hometown. It was an unbelievable experience, being in the NFL, the pinnacle of everything you want to reach and the success you want to get to.

Even though it's still a preseason game and it doesn't count, it feels like a real game to me out there. I got to get out there on the opening kickoff and play some special teams early, and it was an awesome experience just to see 70,000 people in the crowd and be a part of such an electric atmosphere. It makes it easy to play when there are so many people there cheering for you.

My wife's seats are in the corner by the end zone, in the family seats. I saw her pregame; she was down in the front row taking pictures, and I was waving at her. She said she almost cried when I ran out of the tunnel because she was so emotional. It was very emotional for me, too, but I wasn't crying; I had to get ready to go play a football game. But when the flames were going and all of that, it was a pretty crazy experience.

It's kind of a surreal feeling playing at Reliant Stadium. I live like half-a-mile away, and every day for the past two-and-a-half years when I drove to Rice, I drove right down Kirby by Reliant Stadium. I did that drive twice a day for the last two years, to and from school, and I just never would've imagined I'd actually be a Houston Texan and actually playing football games here. I'm working to make sure this lasts as long as it can, just trying to get to that final cut and make this team.

There were a lot of great things about the game, but the bottom line is that we lost. Everybody in the NFL is a really competitive person – everybody hates to lose – so I was really down, really disappointed. Nothing felt good after the game. But after having a couple of days to watch the film and look at everything and critique myself, I feel like I did a lot of good things out there at fullback, tight end and on special teams.

{QUOTE}Playing fullback is something that's completely new to me, but I've been practicing a lot and going over all of the plays. I got more comfortable with it as the game went on, and I got to play some tight end at the end of the game. I played pretty well at times.

Obviously, I'm still a rookie and still learning. I did a couple bad things out there that I've got to work to correct. You just try to watch the film and try to get better and make sure those things don't happen again. You move on from it. There's no time to dwell on the negative, because we've got to get ready now. We're getting ready for the Jets game, but we've also got to get ready for the Vikings, who we're playing next Monday night.

I'm just staying positive, because I could have only two weeks left to play football. Final cuts are Sept. 5, so I've got no time to mope around. I've got to go out there every day and just try to make an impression and prove to the coaching staff that I can be one of these 53 people that can help this team win. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to do that. It sounds extremely cliché, but it's the truth.

For me to make the team, I've got to have that mentality. I'm not naïve about that. I can't say, "Hey, I only want to play this position." I don't. I want to play whatever they want me to and whatever helps us out. If it's fullback, if it's tight end, if it's special teams, any type of special teams, whatever it is, I'm willing to do it and I'm excited about it. There are millions of people out there that want to play in the NFL, so whatever they're asking me to do, I'm more than willing to do it.

On a side note, I think we're moving out of the team hotel today. I've been rooming there with Anthony Hill since training camp started. He and I become really good friends; we're around each other all the time and obviously play the same position. It's going to be sad, but I get to go back to my wife, back to my apartment, so that's going to be nice.

Thanks to everyone who came out to the game. Unfortunately, we didn't get the win, but we went back and watched the film and we're going to get better from it. We're going to pick ourselves back up and work hard this week so that we can put together a football team that's going to reach the levels that the Texans want to reach. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone on Monday night. It's going to be a great time, and I can't wait.

James Casey rookie diary archive

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