The Texans have signed Bryan Pittman, their primary long snapper from 2003-08, to the active roster. Pittman will take over snapping duties from starting tight end Joel Dreessen, who is dealing with a shoulder injury.
Dreessen practiced on Wednesday and is expected to play against the Rams, but the Texans are down to Dreessen and rookie James Casey at tight end after rookie Anthony Hill was placed on injured reserve this week.
"Where we're at tight-end wise, for us to send Joel out there for 60 plays as a tight end and another 20 on special teams, we're just not going to make it with him throughout the course of the season," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "So it made sense to bring in Bryan."
Pittman snapped in 92 consecutive games for the Texans from 2003-08. He started his career with 598 consecutive successful snaps, a streak that lasted until midway through the 2007 season.
Pittman struggled at times in 2008 and missed the final four games of the season while serving a league suspension, and the Texans opted not to re-sign him. He spent two months with the Seattle Seahawks this summer before being cut. The Atlanta Falcons signed Pittman in November and he played in four games for them, but he was relased on Dec. 1.
"When guys get out of football for a while, they get hungry," Kubiak said. "He came in here and did a good job yesterday (in a tryout); he was automatic. He did a good job in practice today. It's a good opportunity for him in his career to take advantage of, so we'll see if he can do it."
Another factor working in Pittman's favor is that he spent the better part of two seasons snapping to punter/holder Matt Turk, and most of six seasons working with struggling kicker Kris Brown.
Brown had the best two-year stretch of his career in 2007-08, but he's 16-of-24 this season (66.7 percent). That puts him on pace for the worst season of his career.
"We're obviously trying to get Kris back righted, and for Pitt to walk in here, it's not like it's another thing for Kris to deal with, so he should be comfortable with him," Kubiak said. "Bryan doesn't work in any other position, so they basically sit there for an hour-and-a-half (in practice) and work at their trade. So hopefully, it helps."