In a season marred by injuries, many Texans players look to Derek Newton as an inspiration. Newton was the Texans starting right tackle until he ruptured the patellar tendon in both of his knees on the same play last year in Week 7 against the Denver Broncos.
His teammates selected Newton as their 2017 Ed Block Courage Award winner to recognize Newton for his extraordinary effort to overcome great adversity.
"It's awesome just to see what he's gone through," Brian Cushing said. "I'm sure Derek would love to be playing but it's just been such a long road back and he'll get there. He'll get there. He's doing a really good job and the level of injury he had, the devastation was unreal to have both knees done on the same play. So, just to come back and what he's done so far has been incredible. He'll be back. We're all confident in that."
Jadeveon Clowney earned the same honor in 2015 after returning to the field following microfracture knee surgery his rookie season.
"I think it's unbelievable," Clowney said. "That guy has worked extremely hard, more than I've ever seen anybody in here. I think he said, what, six-to-seven hours a day taking care of his stuff, trying to get back just to prove to you guys and the team and people outside the building that he still can play. I'm excited to see him. I watch him work every day. He works more than, like I said, anybody in this building right now. Probably in here just as much as the coaches. Just to see him fight back and do what he's doing is amazing. I wish him nothing but the best."
Newton, a seventh-round selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, took over as the full-time starter at right tackle in 2012. In 2015 under head coach Bill O'Brien, Newton started at right tackle, left guard, right guard and even saw action at left tackle.
"If there's a guy that deserves to be voted for that award it's Derek Newton," O'Brien said. "I mean, the guy – it's almost like, what, you're getting close to 18 months, getting into the two-year range from when he did that, and he's been in there since his surgery which was a long time ago. He's been in there every day really to the point where now he might have a chance to play again, and I think when it happened I'm not sure that you could really say that. He blew out both of his knees on one play. It's just kind of a flukey non-contact kind of deal and he's really busted hard to be back to where he is. So, I think he's very deserving of that award."
Newton appeared in 82 games with 68 starts during his six seasons in Houston. He held a 56-game start streak from 2012-16, which marked the fifth-longest active streak in the league at the time. Newton has played both tackle positions and both guard spots and has been called for holding just nine times in his career.
The Texans signed Derek Newton on Monday.