Texans homecoming


Texans defensive end Robaire Smith expected a few family members to make the hour drive from Flint, Mich. to Detroit to watch him play the Lions Sunday.

He didn't know a family reunion would break out.

For the past several days Smith has taken more ticket request than a window clerk at a Prince concert. Actually, it's not that bad, but Smith's mother has called multiple times to request more tickets for loved ones from Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.

As of Wednesday afternoon he had ordered 60 tickets.

"I got a lot of family back at home around the Michigan area," Smith said with a chuckle. "I'm happy to play in front of my family though. I haven't been able to have everybody there since I've been in the league, but this week I will."

He last played in Detroit in October of 2001.

Smith grew up in Flint and was just one of a very talented family. His brother Fernando played nine seasons in the NFL. His other brother Antonio went to the Final Four with Michigan State in 1999. His sister Zaire is a professional model.

He's a Michigander born and bred.

Smith played high school football at Flint High School and was first team all-state his senior season. He started the Robaire Smith Foundation in 2002 to help middle school sports programs in his hometown.

He misses Michigan and helping the community, especially since his off season move from the Tennessee Titans to the Texans.

"This year I had to slow down a little bit because I had to get here and get adjusted," Smith said. "I have to think football first. That stuff comes second. I have to make sure everything's going alright here."

Smith won't be the lone Michigan native making the trip home.

Rookie linebacker Jason Babin graduated from Paw Paw High School just outside of Kalamazoo, Mich. His high school wrestling and football success has been well documented. He won the state championship in wrestling before playing football at Western Michigan.

He is looking for something special out of his family that make the hour or so trip east to Detroit for Sunday's game.

"It's going to be nice to have a little bit of an advantage in the fan base," he said.

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