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Salaam, Pitts make third "Ellen" appearance


Texans tackle Ephraim Salaam and guard Chester Pitts arrived at Reliant Stadium Saturday afternoon wearing the ear-to-ear smiles. The offensive linemen had never been so happy to be at work during the offseason.

That's because the two are enjoying their new gig as guest correspondents for the "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and they couldn't wait to tape their latest segment.

Yes, the two gentle giants who start on the o-line in Houston have stared in three episodes for one of the nation's most popular daytime talk shows. And they have one commercial to thank for their Hollywood success.

Salaam and Pitts were winners of the NFL's Super Ad campaign, in which players shared their stories about making it to the NFL and fans voted on their favorite video account.

The pair's commercial told how Salaam, while at San Diego State University, convinced Pitts, who was bagging groceries at a local supermarket, to try out for the Aztecs football team. Pitts, accomplished at the oboe, had never played football before and with Salaam's encouragement walked onto the team.

The funny, feel good spot debuted during the Super Bowl and immediately caught DeGeneres' attention. She invited Pitts and Salaam to appear on her show the Thursday after the game, and the two had never been so thrilled to appear on the silver screen.

"I was excited," Salaam said. "I'm a big fan of Ellen. I've watched her show. I've enjoyed dancing with Ellen, so I was really excited. It was an honor and a pleasure."

{QUOTE}The talkative tackle also arrived at the studio prepared. He brought DeGeneres a signed authentic jersey, which she said she plans to wear as a dress.

Salaam and Pitts have built a reputation as team funnymen in the Texans' locker room and they gave the world a taste of their humor on the show.

In fact, they were so funny that DeGeneres asked them to be her red carpet correspondents at the Grammys.

"It was phenomenal," Pitts said. "For Ephraim, it was another day at the office, but, for me, it was a treat and it was an honor. I got to see a lot of stars and celebrities and people that I otherwise probably wouldn't have met.

"Probably, our most big-time person was Tony Bennett. Tony Bennett was definitely the most big-time of anyone we got to interview. I mean it was fun. Lots of new artists like Ne-Yo, Tank, Natasha Beddingfield."

The pair worked the celebrity walkway for hours, interviewing performers and entertaining DeGeneres with their witty banter.

One of the show's producers commented that the two players had DeGeneres laughing so hard that she started crying.

The talk show host said she would have them back on the show; she just didn't know when. Then, she and the producers realized the show could make a stop in Houston while filming its "Highway to Ellen" segments. The show is featuring four women who won DeGeneres' road trip contest and are driving cross country in a new car.

On Saturday, the women and the show's crew stopped in Houston to get a tour of Reliant Stadium from Salaam and Pitts and dine at local steak house, which is a pregame ritual for the offensive line.

"We showed the four wonderful ladies who won the "Highway to Ellen" road trip contest a little bit of where we work," Salaam said. "Now, we're going to show them how we eat and play."

The women admitted they had no idea that walking through a locker room and weight room would be so entertaining and that Salaam and Pitts are natural entertianers.

The pair's teammates are giving the offensive linemen slightly different reviews on their performances.

"They are giving us a lot of crap," Pitts said jokingly. "But we are for the people."

And the two don't forget where they came from.

"Oboes for life," Pitts and Salaam cheered in unison.

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