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Salaam opens up on role


Tackle Ephraim Salaam, participating in a mini-camp drill with guard Kasey Studdard, spoke about running with the second-team offense on Sunday.

One of the big stories out of mini-camp this weekend was the decision by coach Gary Kubiak to insert rookie first-round pick Duane Brown into the starting left tackle spot.

Of course, that's the same position that Ephraim Salaam has occupied for most of the past two years. Going into his 11th season, Salaam never has been shy with the media, but he waited until Sunday to discuss his feelings about the move.

"It took me a couple days, but I am a competitor, and this is what I do," Salaam said. "This is my job. This is what I do for a living, and I've been starting in this league for a long time. And it took me a while.

"I understand where they're coming from. I didn't like it, but I understand what they need to see out of (Brown) to see how far along he is and what they need to work on with him, and I'm OK with that. The competition starts when training camp comes around and I'm up for competition. I've been competing for my job for 11 years, so it's nothing new to me."

{QUOTE}Salaam vowed to help Brown as much as possible even though they will be competing for the same spot this summer.

"Of course, I'm not the guy to sabotage the team," Salaam said. "That's not me. I'll never be that guy, because this is my job. Things don't work in your favor all of the time, especially in this business. I'm a professional. My dad taught me a long time ago to have character, be professional and just do your job, and that's what I do."

So far, Salaam has been impressed with Brown, who has made marked improvements each day of mini-camp while adjusting to the speed of the game.

"I asked (Duane) yesterday after practice, 'Did you guys practice this fast in college?'" Salaam said. "He was like, 'The games weren't even this fast.' So the new terminology and the speed of practice, it's heavy, it's tough, especially for a left tackle in this league. To just come in and get all this thrown on you, plus to be on the edge by yourself – he's handling it alright. There are some things he needs to work on, but that's what we're all here for."

Overall, Salaam is happy to be back playing football after a whirlwind offseason that included a **Super Bowl ad spot** as well as multiple **appearances on "The Ellen Degeneres Show"** with teammate Chester Pitts.

"It's exciting to get out here and be around the guys again and football," Salaam said. "We've been working out together for about a month-and-a-half. To stop all the running and lifting and stuff and just getting out here and playing, it feels good even to my old body."

Click **here** to listen to Salaam talk about his role as a reserve in Sunday's "Texans Today" podcast.

Click **here** to subscribe to the daily "Texans Today" podcast.

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