Safety Bernard Pollard, 25, went from being a street free agent to one of the Texans' top defensive players in 2009.
The Texans re-signed restricted free agent strong safety Bernard Pollard on Friday, two days after re-signing restricted free agent linebacker DeMeco Ryans.
Pollard, 25, went from being a street free agent to one of the Texans' top defensive players in 2009. Released by the Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 5, he spent three weeks without a team before signing with the Texans and starting the final 13 games of the season as Houston finished with a franchise-best 9-7 record.
"I get a chance to come back to a city that's been great to me since I've been here, and a team that has shown me so much love since I've been here," Pollard said on Friday. "Like I told (general manager) Rick (Smith) and the coaches, I'm going to go out there and try to continue to be a leader of the team.
"We need to win some games and get to the playoffs, and eventually a long-term contract will come. A long-term contract's what everybody wants, but at the end of the day we've got to work our way up, so I'm going to continue to do that."
The Houston Chronicle reported that Pollard signed a one-year tender offer, though the team does not release contract details. Pollard – along with his wife, Meghan, and their two-year-old son, Jaylen, and infant daughter, Alonna – hopes to be in Houston for the foreseeable future.
"This is definitely where I want to be long-term," Pollard said. "The owner (Bob McNair) knows that, Rick knows that. It's just a matter of getting some things ironed out, and once we get them ironed out it's going to be great for myself and my family. But I just continue to thank God for the position that I'm in and if it's (contract) going to come, it'll come. I just got here and I played 13 games, so my big thing is to do the same thing in the 2010 season for 16 games."
Those 13 games in 2009 were enough for Pollard to tie for the team lead with four interceptions, finish third with 102 tackles and score a team-high two defensive touchdowns. All of those totals were new career-highs for the hard-hitting fourth-year safety out of Purdue.
Pollard also helped the Texans' defense improve from allowing the most total yards (436.7) and rushing yards (163.3) per game in the NFL over the first three weeks to ranking fourth in total yards (299.1) and second in rushing yards (84.3) over the final 13.
With that turnaround and the return of Pro Bowlers Mario Williams, Brian Cushing and Ryans in mind, Pollard has high hopes for the Texans' defense in 2010.
"We need to finish number one in every category that we can, and it's very possible," Pollard said. "The sky's the limit for this team. Our team in general is very good, and from a defensive standpoint, it's just a matter of getting a couple more pieces. Everybody's grinding now with the offseason workouts, but when we put the pads on in time for training camp, there's one goal that should be in our head, and that's the Super Bowl. I think that if the Super Bowl comes, every category that we want to hit is going to be there."
Pollard missed the first few days of the Texans' voluntary offseason program, which began Monday. He reported to Reliant Stadium on Friday with Texans wide receiver André Davis to work out with strength and conditioning coach Cedric Smith, Pollard's strength coach with the Chiefs in 2007 and 2008.
"I'm very excited to be back," Pollard said. "Just to see Ced again, that's big. We had a great relationship in Kansas City. The guy knows what he's doing, and I worked out today with him and got back with the teammates. I saw a couple of guys yesterday and I saw (Matt) Schaub and Dan (Orlovsky) this morning, and you can see what guys want to accomplish. You get that feeling that everybody wants to see nothing but great things for this team. When you see that hunger everybody else has, it tells you that you've got to get the same appetite that they do. I hear so many people, so many analysts and everybody else talk about the Texans and this and that. Well, we will go out, and we will earn that respect."
Pollard is the fifth free agent to re-sign with the Texans this offseason, joining Ryans, defensive end Tim Bulman, punter Matt Turk and wide receiver Kevin Walter. The Texans also have added free agent offensive lineman Wade Smith.*