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Shane Lechler returns to the Black Hole

During his 13 years as a Raider, Shane Lechler never even saw the inside of the visiting team's locker room at Coliseum.

He'll get his chance to do so when Houston faces the Raiders on Sunday. It will be the six-time All-Pro punter's first visit to Oakland's infamous "Black Hole" since becoming a Texan.

"This is one of those situations that you know is coming because, of course, you look at the schedule as soon as it comes out," Lechler said in an interview with Texans Radio. "I knew I was going to Oakland this year and I've known it since the schedule comes out. It's kind of one of those things that you put off, put off, put off and now it's here. You're like, 'Ugh, alright let's go face this thing. Let's go in there, be a professional, get in and get out of there.'"

While he may have some pre-game jitters Saturday night, Lechler feels fine heading into a game week with the only other NFL team he's played for, the franchise that drafted him in the fifth round of the 2000 NFL Draft.

Now in his second year as a Texan, Lechler's contribution on and off the field has not gone unnoticed by head coach Bill O'Brien.

"He's a big weapon for our team," O'Brien said Wednesday. "Both the way he is in the locker room, the way he is in the meeting room, on the practice field. He has so much experience. He's very much like a coach on the field. He's seen so many different looks and adjustments that he's able to help the young players with what their call should be. Most importantly, on the field he's a fantastic punter. He's the best punter I've ever been around. I know that we're lucky to have him here and he is a big weapon."

Lechler is currently the NFL's all-time leader in gross punting average (47.6) and also tops the list of active punters, having punted in 91 consecutive games.

The Texans kick off against the Raiders on Sunday at 3:25 p.m. CT (CBS KHOU-11, SportsRadio 610).

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