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Rookie diary: James Casey


Rookie tight end James Casey made his first tackle on special teams last week at Tennessee.

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. In his latest diary entry for, Casey discusses his first NFL road game and reuniting with a former Rice teammate on Sunday.

It was great to bounce back like we did and play well against the Titans. After the game against the Jets, we were very disappointed in how we played, and it was a really long week.

We took a lot of heat for how we played, and deservedly so because we didn't play very well. You just wanted to get out on the field as fast as possible, but you had to wait all week long. So we were all excited to get back out on the field and play the way we did, to be physical and let the Titans know that they should be ready for a fight and we weren't going to back down. Some fights actually broke out in the game, but we ended up getting the win.

Obviously, we didn't do everything right and we still have a lot of stuff to work on, but we feel great about the win and it being a division game. But if we don't come back and play well against Jacksonville, it's kind of for naught. We've got to make sure we come out strong and come out with the same intensity we had against Tennessee. We've got to let Jacksonville know they're in for a fight and we're going to be physical, that it's going to be a tough game.

The Titans game was my first experience on the road in the NFL. You've got your 53 guys on your roster and your coaching staff, and it's pretty much like us against the world. I don't know how many people were there in the stadium, but they're all screaming against you and you feel like you're all by yourself out there.

That's the great thing about football: You've got to work together to try to get it done. It's hard to win on the road in this league, and you have a huge homefield advantage that we're hoping to take advantage of this Sunday on Battle Red Day when we play Jacksonville. It was a crazy environment, and everybody was definitely excited and happy that we won the game. It was a big win for us.

I've got to mention my one shining moment so far in the NFL, when I made a tackle on the kickoff team in the game. It was my first time covering a kick. One of their upbacks got the ball, and I realized as I was running down that that was a really big dude so I was going to have to take his legs out. I hit him in the legs and he slipped up and he was about to land, and then Kevin Bentley caught him in the air and slammed him on his head.

It was an amazing first tackle, and I actually feel like I contributed to the game. I played a little special teams in the first game and then I doubled my output the second game to 10 plays, so if I can keep doing that, I'll be doing OK. And I guess as of now I'm 100 percent on my tackling opportunities, so hopefully I keep that percentage up pretty high.

I'm really looking forward to wearing the all-red uniforms on Sunday. I remember watching them last year, and I loved the way they looked. It's something new and it's something different. It's something you can get excited about. We're even getting new red cleats that they put in our lockers this week. I think the fans enjoy the Battle Red Day, too, so we're excited about it.

{QUOTE}I'm super excited about seeing Jarett Dillard, a good friend of mine who plays for the Jaguars. We both played receiver together at Rice. We're really close, we talk a lot, and ever since the draft I've kind of had this game circled. After the draft, we both said we've got to make sure we make our teams and get active for this game. We both already made the team, and as of right now it's looking like we're both going to be active.

It's amazing to think how it worked out that we ended up getting drafted in the same division and get to play against each other. The last time we were on the same field together was at the Texas Bowl at Reliant Stadium. We have awesome memories from that, and now we're going to be on the same field together against each other in an NFL football game. That's going to be wild.

Jarett and I have been talking a lot this week, probably more than usual. I know he's excited about the game; I think this is going to be his NFL debut. Hopefully, we'll have a lot of people come out from Rice and from Houston to watch. I definitely look forward to seeing him before and after the game, but of course, he's part of the enemy during the game.

Another cool thing, I'm getting to be friends with **Johnny Cooper**, the singer, and he's coming down to the game this week. I've been to a couple of his concerts where he was gracious enough to give me tickets for those, and it's really cool to be able to repay him and him get to come watch me in my profession.

I just turned 25 on Tuesday, the 22nd. I'm getting older now; birthdays aren't too cool of a deal any more like they used to be. I think the only thing cool about being 25 is that I hear your insurance is supposed to go down a little bit, so I'm excited about that.

My birthday was a pretty busy day. My wife and I went out to eat for dinner, but that was pretty much it as far as celebrating. I was on 1560, the radio station, for an hour or two in the morning. Then my wife and I went to a Battle Red Ladies Night at the stadium at night. It was great to hang out with the women and mingle with them, and if any of them are reading this, we really appreciate your support.

If anybody has any questions or ideas for a future rookie diary entry, please **send in an e-mail** and I'll be happy to take a look at it. Thanks again to anybody who's reading this. I feel honored and blessed to be in the situation that I'm in. Hopefully, our team is going to build on what we did last week and keep getting better. We'll see you on Sunday.
James Casey rookie diary archive

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