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Houston Texans

Texans hold annual Draft Luncheon


Two days after wrapping up their first draft together, Texans general manager Rick Smith and Gary Kubiak took time Tuesday to speak at the Texans annual Draft Luncheon.

The pair addressed the crowd of nearly 800 talking mostly about the seven newest Texans added over the weekend in addition to catching the crowd up on what has been a hectic offseason around Reliant Stadium, including Sunday when Smith was faced with another obstacle other than merely making his draft selections.

"In 20 years when I'm asked what my most memorable moment is from my first draft as a general manager, I'll say we didn't burn the building down," a smiling Smith said.

Smith was referring to a fire alarm that sounded Sunday morning in Reliant shortly before the Texans went on the clock to make their fourth-round selection. It was a scheduled test of the system so the building did in fact not burn down.

Smith was excited, but also was honest in his assessment of Houston's first draft class under his leadership.

"I'm not going to stand up here and say that I know all seven of these guys are going to be Pro Bowl players," he said. "However, I do know that each of these players plays with tremendous passion and are smart football players."

Kubiak talked briefly about Houston's draft class as well, but more importantly, Kubiak spoke about the future and his plans for the Texans.

"There's a tremendous amount of evaluation that goes on during the offseason," Kubiak said "This football team won two games two years ago. Last year we won six games, that's progress, but it's not good enough.

"We're focused on making this football team better and the next step is to bring a playoff football team to the city of Houston."

{QUOTE} Texans team awards were also given out Tuesday. Andre Johnson took home team MVP honors, DeMeco Ryans won Rookie of the Year accolades, Mark Bruener took home his second Spirit of the Bull Award, N.D. Kalu won the Mickery Herskowitz Award and Kailee Wong won the Ed Block Courage award.

For Ryans the honor was meaningful because it was voted on by his piers.

"Any time you win an award voted on by your teammates, it's a good feeling," Ryans said. "I came in and showed I could play with them and they accepted me."

Ryans' trophy case is getting pretty crowded. He also took home NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in January.

"I don't think I was looking for personal accolades, I was just looking to help the team get better," Ryans said. "We got better as a team, but like coach Kubiak said it wasn't good enough and we have a long way to go to get where we want to go."

The Mickey Herskowitz Award is presented to the Texans player that is most accommodating to the media. In just his first season back in his hometown, Kalu took home the award.

He's just glad to be out of a glaring media spotlight in the Northeast.

"It means that at least some people out there think I have some sense to answer these questions," Kalu said of his honor. "To me, like I said, it's more of tribute to the Houston media. After being in Philadelphia for six years, it's nice to see a media that just reports the facts. I know my teammates and I appreciate that."

The Texans now turn their attention to OTA's (optional team activities) which begin in mid-May.

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