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Texans cut Colvin, still evaluating Brown


The Texans released 21 players on Friday in an effort to get their roster down to the 53-man limit. They will use the weekend to evaluate running back Chris Brown, who has been sidelined for most of the preseason with a back injury.

Colvin not quite special enough: The Texans signed Rosevelt Colvin in the offseason to be a pass rushing specialist who could keep defensive end Mario Williams from getting double- or triple-teamed. The problem was Colvin never showed much of anything during the preseason at outside linebacker or defensive end, and the team could not afford to keep a player who was struggling in his specialty and could not contribute on special teams.

"The bottom line, when it was all said and done, to have a player on your team to just play nickel or just have that type of special role, it had to be special," coach Gary Kubiak said. "We had to sit there and weigh him against other players that could play special teams and do some other things for the football team. When it was all said and done, we went in the other direction."

Colvin, a 10th-year pro who has made a career out of being a speedy edge rusher, looked a step behind at the line of scrimmage during camp and never came close to consistently pressuring the quarterback in the Texans' four preseason games.

"We tried to move him around as best we could but when it was all said and done, the decision was made for a player that would do more things, especially from a standpoint of special teams," Kubiak said.

{QUOTE}Cutting Colvin was a difficult decision for general manager Rick Smith, who was instrumental in bringing the defensive end to Houston. Smith first recruited Colvin to play at Purdue and is friends with Colvin's agent, Kennard McGuire.

"Those 53 positions are very sacred," Smith said. "We just didn't feel like that element was there enough for us to carry a specialist. It's disappointing. Everybody knows our relationship, and so I had hoped that he could add something to our team that obviously we feel like is not going to be there."

With Colvin gone, the team will look to defensive end N.D. Kalu to get pressure on the quarterback. Aside from Williams, the 12th-year pro was the team's most impressive rusher during the preseason and constantly earned praised from Kubiak for his motor.

Brown under evaluation: One more player on the Texans' roster has to go, and running back Chris Brown is the man most in jeopardy of losing his job. Brown missed three preseason games with a back injury and underwent a second MRI earlier this week.

Smith and Kubiak have been meeting with team doctors to discuss Brown's health and will make a decision on the sixth-year pro this weekend.

"He's part of that process right now, that last move or that last thing that's going to take place here over the course of the next 24 hours," Kubiak said. "We are still evaluating. We have some people looking at his back and some of the work that we've done over the course of the last three days and we're trying to make a decision."

During OTAs, Brown looked like a good complement to Pro Bowler Ahman Green and rookie Steve Slaton. He's a one-cut back with breakaway speed, and he's familiar with the team's zone scheme. But the Texans are weary of sticking with an injury-prone veteran running back because of Green's health issues.

The Texans did release Marcel Shipp and Darius Walker, a second-year pro who played in four games last season and finished second on the team in rushing. If the team decides to cut Brown, only three backs would be left on the roster: Green, Slaton and Chris Taylor. Smith said that regardless of what he decides, the front office will be watching the waiver wire closely for available ball carriers.

"We've got three guys that we feel pretty good about, but we've only got four running backs when you count the fullback in Vonta (Leach)," Smith said.

"We've already done some work as a pro scouting staff to anticipate where we think some players may be or who might be available. Certainly, we will continue to look at that. And then once the releases actually happen, we'll take a look at who might be available and what are some of our other options if, in fact, Chris is not available to us."

Youth wins out: Ultimately, youth was the deciding factor in many of the team's personnel moves.

Safety Glenn Earl, who started for the Texans in 2006 before a foot injury sidelined him last year, was let go to make room for rookie Dominique Barber and second-year pro Brandon Harrison, who can also move outside to play cornerback. The Texans kept five safeties, including starters Will Demps and C.C. Brown and special teams standout Nick Ferguson.

Recording a sack and an interception in the team's final preseason against Tampa Bay wasn't enough for defensive tackle Anthony Maddox, a fourth-year pro, to convince the Texans to keep him on the roster. Instead, the team opted to go with fifth-round draft pick Frank Okam.

"It was very close," Kubiak said. "Anthony did some real good things in the game last night. Frank took a step forward as a player last night. I'll tell you just like I told Anthony. When it gets real close like that between two players, you know, we went young. And we did that in a couple spots. We are going with the young player that we think has a lot of upside.

"Is he (Okam) there yet? No. He has a long, long way to go. But we think he gives us a big, big presence that we don't have on this football team inside. We are expecting him to make a lot of ground. We are letting a good football player go in Anthony and the job he did for us. It was a decision of going young at that spot."

Cornerbacks Dexter Wynn, Derrick Roberson and Jamar Fletcher, an eighth-year pro, also were released, leaving the Texans with four healthy cornerbacks (Fred Bennett, Jacques Reeves, Antwaun Molden and DeMarcus Faggins). Dunta Robinson will begin the season on the physically unable to perform list.

"When you put a 53-man roster together, there are so many variables, as you all know, the different numbers of players at a particular position," Smith said. "We elected at this point to go with four corners and go heavier at some other positions.

"It's a fluid process, and we understand that. The thing that we tried to do and the goal we set out to do was to put the best 53 guys together that we felt that would give us the best chance to go beat Pittsburgh."

Depth at linebacker still a concern: As predicted, the Texans will carry six linebackers on the roster. Their starters were no mystery with DeMeco Ryans, Morlon Greenwood and Zac Diles looking like some of the most outstanding players on defense.

The big surprise was that the team opted to sign two backups who were injured for most of the preseason: rookie Xavier Adibi (Achilles) and sixth-year pro Chaun Thompson (hamstring).

"Those six are pretty cut-and-dry decisions, but two of those players have basically been inactive," Kubiak said. "I mean, Thompson and Adibi have not played much at all this preseason. We know, potentially, what they can do for our football team.

"We expect Thompson back full speed for Pittsburgh. I think there's still a little doubt about Xavier and his Achilles right now, but that has made it very, very difficult on us. It's made it very difficult on (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano), as far as linebackers helping him on special teams."

The Texans believe in Adibi's speed and tackling ability. He led Virginia Tech with a career-high 115 tackles last season and looked excellent in camp. Thompson has the ability to rush the pass from the weakside, which is something the defense desperately needs.

Keeping Adibi and Thompson meant cutting Kevin Coley and Ben Moffitt, who both recorded double-digit tackle games against the Buccaneers.

"He (Coley) played his tail off last night," Kubiak said. "It was a really, really hard decision for us. We like him a lot. There's still a possibility he could come back some how, some way."

Possibly practice squad bound: The Texans are hopeful that they can bring back a handful of the rookies they cut and sign them to the practice squad. Defensive end Jessie Nading, who recovered a fumble against the Bucs, is one of those players, as are Moffitt and defensive tackle Gabe Long.

Kubiak would like to be able to suit three quarterbacks in practice. He released Shane Boyd and rookie Alex Brink and will consider re-signing them as developmental players, but he also will be watching the wire for an upgrade in talent.

"As far as the two young kids, we are considering both of them as a practice squad player," Kubiak said. "In all honesty, we are going to look at the wire also to see what's going on there. As I told both of them young men, one of them could be coming back as a practice squad player, or we could go in another direction."

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