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Texans decide not to pursue RB Larry Johnson


As first reported by the Houston Chronicle, the Texans are not pursuing free agent running back Larry Johnson. Johnson, 29, was released by the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday and since has cleared waivers.

Stating his confidence in Steve Slaton, Ryan Moats and Chris Brown, Texans general manager Rick Smith on Wednesday explained the club's decision not to pursue the two-time Pro Bowler.

"We looked at all the factors involved and just decided at this time we didn't feel like it was a good fit for us," Smith said. "I feel confident in the backs that we have on our roster and I feel like we'll be able to be productive running the football in the latter half of the season. I think that went into the decision-making process as well."

Johnson had a string of off-field issues in Kansas City, culminating in a recent suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. Texans owner Bob McNair said on Tuesday that those incidents would be taken into consideration.

{QUOTE}The Texans rank 27th in the league in rushing this season. They averaged a franchise-record 4.3 yards per carry in 2008, but that average has dipped a full yard to 3.3 per carry in 2009. Slaton has lost five fumbles and was replaced in the starting lineup by Moats in Week 9 at Indianapolis.

Heading into the bye week, Texans coach Gary Kubiak did not name a starter for the Monday night game against Tennessee on Nov. 23.

"I'll watch them practice," Kubiak said Tuesday. "I want to see how Steve responds and comes back from this break. I want to see how Ryan responds and Chris being as fresh as he can be. So it'll be a day-to-day deal for me."

The Texans also have running backs Arian Foster and Chris Henry on the practice squad.

"We're watching Chris and watching Arian every day," Kubiak said. "...Obviously, we can activate one of those players at any time."

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