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Texans extend qualifying offers to RFAs


The Texans announced Thursday that they have extended qualifying offers to five of the team's restricted free agents: tight ends Owen Daniels and Joel Dreessen, wide receiver David Anderson, tackle Rashad Butler and defensive end Earl Cochran.

All five players are entering their fourth seasons in the NFL.

Daniels, a fourth-round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft from Wisconsin, is coming off his best season as a pro. He finished with 70 receptions for 862 yards (12.3 avg.) and ranked third among NFL tight ends in receiving yards and fifth in receptions.

As the first alternate in the 2009 Pro Bowl replacing San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, Daniels finished with two catches for 30 yards and a touchdown in the game.

In December, Daniels indicated a desire to remain in Houston.

{QUOTE}"I would love to," he said. "I guess I'll be a restricted free agent after this year, and I'd love to be here for a long time. That's not completely up to me, but I'd definitely love to stay in Houston. I really like our team, I like our coaches, I like the guys and I think we're going in the right direction."

Dreessen, a sixth-round pick of the New York Jets in 2005 out of Colorado State, signed with the Texans before the 2007 season. In 2008, he started three games with Daniels when the Texans played with a two-tight end set and finished the year with 11 catches for 77 yards - both career highs.

Anderson, also from Colorado State, was the Texans' seventh-round pick in 2006. He had his best season in 2008 with 19 catches for 241 yards (12.7 avg.) and two touchdowns. Anderson tied the Texans' season long with a 65-yard reception against the Oakland Raiders in Week 16.

Both Butler and Cochran are expected to play larger roles on the team in 2009 with the departures this week of tackle Ephraim Salaam and defensive end Anthony Weaver.

Butler, a third-round pick by the Carolina Panthers in the 2006 NFL Draft, was teammates with tackle Eric Winston at the University of Miami. After signing with the Texans at the start of the 2007 season, Butler played eight games in a reserve role the past two years.

Cochran, meanwhile, had a promising season cut short by a toe injury in 2008. He finished with 17 tackles and a career-high two sacks in eight games with one start.

"I started to find my rhythm as a pass rusher inside and I was getting really excited about the things we were starting to do, and then the injury came up and it was like the light just went off," Cochran said recently. "The lights were starting to shine on the D-line, and then all of a sudden, they just went off for me.

"I feel like I proved (last year) that if you give me time and put me in a position, I'm going to learn how to play that position to the best of my ability and give you the best that I have on the field."

A former practice squad player, Cochran joined the Texans in 2006. He attended Alabama State and is from the same town (Bessemer, Ala.) as linebacker DeMeco Ryans.

The only restricted free agent that the Texans did not extend a qualifying offer to is defensive end Stanley McClover. He joined the team during the 2008 preseason and was placed on the reserve/injured list on Sept. 11, 2008.

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