After the team finished OTAs, I wrote that Charles Spencer didn't look like he was ready for training camp. On Tuesday, the Texans' brass made it official. They released Spencer, who struggled to recover from a leg injury that cut short his season in 2006.
It's a sad story for a player who showed incredible promise as a rookie. Team personnel saw that Spencer was made of something special in training camp two years ago, describing the tackle as "a nasty player with a quick first step."
Unfortunately, he couldn't regain that step. The Texans decided to move Spencer inside to guard, where he would shoulder less responsibility protecting quarterback Matt Schaub's blind side. But Spencer's knee wasn't strong enough to take reps during scrimmages in mini-camp or OTAs. He participated in a few non-contact drills as the offensive line worked on its new zone blocking scheme. That wasn't enough to prove to coaches that he would be ready to endure the grind of the regular season.
It didn't help Spencer that this year all NFL teams only can carry 80 players into camp. The Texans couldn't afford giving up a spot to someone who might not ever touch the field. It wasn't an easy decision for head coach Gary Kubiak, who repeatedly met with Spencer this summer.
In a June conversation, Kubiak told Spencer to continue to have faith that events in life happen for a reason.
"I told him, 'The good Lord's got a plan for all of us. Just keep working,'" Kubiak said "And he's a great kid, a good man. Things will work out some how, some way."
Spencer, jovial and good-humored by nature, had to have seen the writing on the wall, but the pill couldn't have been easy to swallow. He will have trouble convincing a team to take a gamble on him until he fully recovers. As Kubiak said, he will have to keep working until that day comes.