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 joined the Texans as a 24-year-old rookie from Rice. He has been chronicling his rookie season with weekly diary entries for HoustonTexans.com.

Before we say anything about football, I have some really big news: My wife is pregnant. I've never been more excited about anything in my life.

I've had a lot of stuff happen to me in the last year as far as going to a bowl game in college, declaring for the draft, getting drafted, going through training camp and making the team and now playing in NFL games. But having a baby is definitely going to trump all that.

My wife, Kylie, and I have been married almost four years now, and it's something we've definitely been looking forward to. When you get married, your friends and family are always asking about when you're going to have kids. We got married at 21, and everybody always thought we had a kid or we got married because we had a kid or something.

She's still really early, like seven or eight weeks in. I can't wait, though. I've got so much stuff going through my mind, wondering what the kid's going to be like, if it's going to be a boy or a girl. We went to the doctor this past Tuesday and actually got to see the heartbeat. It was a little-bitty heart beating like 100 miles an hour. That was really neat. The due date is supposedly June 4, which would work out perfectly because that's in the offseason.

Getting back to football, the Cincinnati game was awesome. It's really nice to get back on track like we did, to get back to 3-3, back at .500. Owen Daniels had a great game; he was our offensive player of the week. Obviously, being a tight end, I'm watching the tight ends and rooting for our group to do really well.

It's awesome to have somebody like Owen that I can watch and be behind. I try to soak in everything I can and be like a sponge and learn as much as I can from him. Even though I'm a backup and not playing much on offense, I'm sitting behind Owen Daniels, who's a Pro Bowl tight end, one of the best in the league, and Joel Dreessen, who I think is probably the most underrated Texan for sure.

{QUOTE}And I'm not just saying that because he's a tight end. Joel doesn't get a lot of recognition for all the stuff he does, special teams and deep snapping and at tight end. I think he could start for a whole bunch of teams in the league. So I'm learning as much as I can from those guys and when I do get a shot, I'll go out there and try to do it like they do it.

One of the really cool perks about being an NFL player is that I've got a Verizon contract. They gave me a couple phones for my wife and I and a certain amount of money to pay the bills. I have to make a couple of different appearances and do certain things as part of the contract, and this week I had an appearance with Joel at a Verizon store. We were on SportsRadio 610 for about an hour and people came by the store to meet with us and get our autographs.

There were a lot of people there that brought big pictures of me from when I was in college and with the Texans to sign. It makes you feel really good when people take the time to have those pictures made and bring them up to you. A lot of people wanted me to sign it with my nickname from Rice, which was "Thor." No one really calls me that much anymore, but I definitely enjoy the nickname and had a great time at the Verizon store.

This Saturday will be my first time to get to go watch a football game at Rice since I played there last season. I still know all the players and the coaches, so I've really been looking forward to being able to watch a football game there. We're so close to the Rice stadium that I figured that I would be able to, but they've had night games and we've got to be at the team hotel on Saturday nights, so it hasn't worked out. They play Central Florida at 2:30 this weekend, so I'm really looking forward to being there. It's going to be weird just sitting in the stands as a regular fan when I've been out there playing and I know everybody out on the field, but it's going to be a lot of fun.

It's tough to see Rice not doing very well this year, and it's hard not to wonder what might've been different if I was still there. But I know that those guys work as hard as anybody out there. Things haven't gotten right for them this year, but if there's one thing I know for sure at Rice it's that they're never going to give up; they're going to keep fighting. I was really close to all those guys, and regardless of the wins and losses, they're a great group and have a lot of great things ahead of them. They've got a lot of really good young players, and they'll be really good in the future.

One more thing on Rice, our athletic director took a job at TCU this week. I kind of wish I was a little older and had all the requirements to apply for the job. I've always wanted to be an athletic director one day somewhere, and there would be no better place to do it than at Rice. But I have a pretty good gig going right now, playing in the NFL, so I'm going to stick with that. Maybe one day I'll go get my degree and be an athletic director somewhere or something along those lines. That's something I'd love to do.

As for the 49ers game this week, we've had our backs against the wall a couple of times this year and responded really well. Now, we've got to go out there this Sunday when we don't have our backs against the wall and try to get that winning record. The 49ers were one play away if Favre hadn't made that miracle throw in the back of the end zone against them from being 4-1, so we know they're a really good team. They're really physical – especially on special teams, and that's what I play a lot of. So we're definitely going to have to buckle our chin straps and get ready to go and try to go out in front of our home crowd and get a win.

Thanks for reading, and please get loud for us on Sunday if you can come to the game. We appreciate your support.

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