Bruener has won the team's Spirit of the Bull award for three consecutive seasons.
The Houston Texans re-signed free agent TE Mark Bruener and SS Glenn Earl, the team announced today.
Bruener (6-4, 252) appeared in 14 games with one start for the Texans in 2007. One of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL, he saw action primarily in short-yardage situations, as well as on special teams. Bruener won the team's Spirit of the Bull Award, which is voted on by the players and given to the player who exemplifies character, leadership and sportsmanship, for the third consecutive season.
"Having Mark back, you've got a guy that's played a lot of years in the league," tight ends coach Brian Pariani said. "He's a leader downstairs for our team, and he understands there's a role on the team for those kind of players. It's exciting to have him back. It'll be special to have Mark playing again for us. He helps a lot of the older players and the younger players on the team."
The former University of Washington star has played in 186 games with 139 starts in 13 NFL seasons. He has caught 152 passes for 1,333 yards and 18 touchdowns. Bruener joined the Texans as a free agent in 2004 after spending his first nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Earl (6-1, 213) missed the entire 2007 season after injuring his left foot in the preseason opener vs. Chicago on August 11. He was placed on injured reserve August 14. Earl has played in 37 games with 31 starts since the Texans selected him in the fourth round (122nd overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft out of Notre Dame. His career totals include 186 tackles, 117 solos, two sacks, three interceptions, 12 passes defensed and a forced fumble.
"He's got experience now; this is going into his fourth year," Texans defensive backs coach Jon Hoke said of Earl. "He's been in the system for a year, so he understands the system, and he's a physical player that brings a toughness to the defense."
Earl entered 2007 coming off the best year of his career in 2006, when he started 15 games at strong safety. He finished with 70 tackles, including 57 solos, both of which were career highs, and registered his first two career sacks that season. Earl also picked off the third pass of his career, which he returned for a career-long 22 yards, four passes defensed and one forced fumble. Earl saw action in 10 games with seven starts in 2005 and played in 12 games with nine starts as a rookie in 2004.
Following are the free agents the Texans have re-signed (3):TE Mark Bruener (6-4, 252)
WR André Davis (6-1, 194)
SS Glenn Earl (6-1, 213)
Following are free agents the Texans have signed from other teams (2):LB Kevin Bentley (6-0, 238) Last team: Seattle Seahawks
CB Jacques Reeves (5-11, 188) Last team: Dallas Cowboys