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Rosenfels excited for Houston return


Former Texans quarterback Sage Rosenfels will make his return to Houston on Monday Night Football.

This week's Monday Night Football matchup at Reliant Stadium might be the only game all season in which fans in attendance are more excited to see Sage Rosenfels than Brett Favre.

The rest of the way, Rosenfels likely will stand in the shadow of Favre, who abruptly returned to the NFL last week for his second comeback attempt in as many years.

This isn't the scenario that Rosenfels envisioned when he was traded by the Texans to Minnesota in February for a fourth-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. He thought he was getting the keys to the Mercedes, and now he's riding shotgun. It's not an unfamiliar position for Rosenfels, but it's certainly not what he hoped for.

"The reason I wanted to go to Minnesota was because it obviously was an opportunity to compete for a starting job," he said. "Not only that, but Minnesota was a very good football team already. They have a very good defense, one of the best running backs in the game, a very good offensive line, some playmakers at the receiver position. So it was a great opportunity for any quarterback to want to play in. I think that Brett probably saw the same type of opportunity that I saw. He wanted to get in the game as well."

{QUOTE}Amazingly, Rosenfels shows no signs of resentment, even though his chance of starting is slim to none and his return to Houston is spoiled to a degree. He sits three lockers away from Favre and says they get along "really well."

Rosenfels has been sidelined recently with an ankle injury that he suffered when a defensive lineman fell on him this preseason, but he expects to play this week. Instead of showing the Texans what they're missing, though, Rosenfels will be focused on securing a backup spot and executing a Vikings' offense that he's still learning.

In three seasons with the Texans, Rosenfels played in 19 games and passed for 3,380 yards with 24 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. In his most memorable game, Rosenfels helped orchestrate a 17-point lead over the Indianapolis Colts last October before committing three turnovers in the final quarter and seeing the victory slip away in dramatic fashion.

After the loss, Rosenfels resumed his role as Matt Schaub's backup, which was tough to swallow at the time. But any anguish or frustration that he felt has washed away. Now, when Rosenfels looks back at his days in Houston, he sees only positives.

He saved his biggest compliments for coach Gary Kubiak.

"I have absolutely no bitterness toward Coach Kubiak," Rosenfels said. "I have the utmost respect for him. I think he's a phenomenal head coach. I think the players respect him. I think he does things the right way. He expects players to be pros and prepare and play the right way. I don't think that you'll find any player that says he didn't like playing for Coach Kubiak. Put me on that list, because he probably taught me as much about the game as any coach I've had in my NFL career."

Rosenfels still keeps in touch with tackle Eric Winston and other members of the team and front office.

"It's probably the most fun that I've had and the most cohesive group that I've been around since I've been in the NFL over the course of my nine years," he said. "Just a great group of guys. I think that cohesiveness and that closeness that those guys have is the reason why they're so successful offensively there, along with Kyle Shanahan and Kubiak's offense."

It will be interesting to see how Texans fans treat Rosenfels, who had his ups and downs in Houston. As a starter here, his record was 6-4, including a 2-0 mark in nationally televised games against the Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars.

When asked what type of reaction he expects to receive Monday, Rosenfels said he wasn't sure but hopes he's greeted warmly.

"I loved playing in Houston and loved playing for those fans," he said. "Even though it's a preseason game, I'm sure they'll be rocking and rolling on Monday night. They were rocking and rolling (in the) last Monday night (game) against Jacksonville. They were a major key to us winning that football game and us having success in those games.

"I'm not sure how much I'm going to play in the game, but it's going to be great to be back out there at Reliant Stadium. It truly is one of the great stadiums in this league. I'm playing in a stadium (the Metrodome) that's almost 30 years old up here. I might have taken it a little bit for granted how sweet Reliant Stadium really was to play in."

While Rosenfels sold his home in Bellaire and now is settled in the western suburbs of Minneapolis with his family, he admits that he'll be keeping a close eye on the Texans this season. Many people are predicting a breakthrough season for the Texans, and Rosenfels will be rooting for the team every step of the way - beginning Sept. 1.

"After the Vikings, I am a big Texans fan," Rosenfels said. "I have a lot invested in that team, taking it from a 2-14 team the year before I got there to a playoff contender the last couple years. I really do hope that they make the playoffs. I think that Coach Kubiak does an outstanding job, and I hope that they can make the playoffs and be there for years and years to come."

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