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.*

It was another rough loss last week. It's really not a lot of fun doing these rookie diaries when we're losing like this because it's hard to be real happy and positive about a lot of stuff, so I'd prefer us to win these last four so these rookie diaries would be a lot easier for me.

We're 5-7 now and I guess our chances to make the playoffs are small, but it's still mathematically possible. A lot of people ask me, "Are you disappointed? Are you going to hang your head down? Are y'all giving up?" We're definitely not giving up. The way I look at it, personally, is that I'm playing in the NFL and I've got a lot to play for. We've got a lot of pride and want to finish the season strong. If we can still finish winning out these last four games, we'll still end up being 9-7 and still have a winning record. But that's kind of on the backburner; we've just got to focus on this next game against Seattle.

On a separate matter, you always hear about the rookie wall. When I was playing in college, I heard a lot of commentators talking about it, and I think I'm kind of experiencing it a little bit right now. Not that it's affected me too much, but your body definitely starts to tell you that you're going through an NFL season about this time of the year. A normal college season is only 12 games, and we've already played 12. That's not even counting the four preseason games, which, to a guy like me, were pretty much regular games because I was playing a lot. So that's 16 games, four more than you usually play in a whole college season.

{QUOTE}On top of that, right when I was done with my bowl game against Western Michigan here in the Texas Bowl, I realized I wanted to declare for the draft. And right after that, literally a couple of days later, I started training for the combine as hard as I could. After that, I was training for my Pro Day, and then I was training for individual workouts with teams and then we had OTAs. So I've been going nonstop since last January, which is pretty much a full year of no down time at all for the rookies.

It's something you've just got to fight through. I've really been watching all the veterans and seeing what they do to take care of their body. I'm starting to pick up on some stuff like getting to the cold tub and making sure you keep on working out even though you're really tired, just to keep your body in shape. Our strength coaches and athletic staff, we have the best in the world at what they do, so they definitely stay on top of us and make sure we're staying healthy and doing all of the preventative stuff in the weight room.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to go do an appearance at Methodist Hospital this week. It was me, Andre Johnson, Jacoby Jones and Eric Winston. It was a lot of fun; I'm really glad I got to do it. It was kind of a pep rally, like a pigskin challenge for all the Methodist employees. We competed against them, us four against four of them in little relay races and things like that.

One of the challenges that we did was a dancing challenge. I'm definitely not a dancer. I've never danced at all, and they didn't tell me about it beforehand, so I just came up with something and tried to do as best I could. I don't think Andre or Eric are too big of dancers, either, but that was definitely the highlight of the day for Jacoby. It was his event to take, and he did; I think he's a two-time winner in that event now.

The best part about it was that at the end, we got to visit with patients at the hospital. I was paired up with Andre Johnson for that, and it was something that really put things into perspective. It made me appreciate what I have and not take anything for granted to see that they're still all upbeat and happy even though they're in some really tough situations. I think I might have gotten more out of it than they probably did, getting to meet all of them.

Thanks to everyone for reading. We haven't been getting it done the last couple weeks, but we've still got a lot to play for and we're still going to go out and give everything we've got on Sunday and come out swinging. I really appreciate everyone's support for our team this season.

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