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Texans re-sign T Butler; sign LB Davis


Tackle Rashad Butler will compete for the swing tackle position backing up starters Duane Brown and Eric Winston.

The Texans continue to address their needs on both sides of the ball heading into the 2009 NFL Draft. On Tuesday, the team re-signed tackle Rashad Butler, a restricted free agent, and signed free agent linebacker Buster Davis.

Butler (6-4, 309) should replace Ephraim Salaam, who was released on Feb. 25, as the Texans' swing tackle behind starters Duane Brown and Eric Winston. The Texans claimed Butler off waivers from the Carolina Panthers in 2007. He has played in eight games in two seasons at tackle and on special teams.

"Particularly with not having Ephraim Salaam around here right now, (Rashad) moves into that third tackle spot," offensive line coach John Benton said. "He'll compete with Cliff Washburn for that spot. But we felt it was very important to have a guy that had seen some game experience and had the talent he had to compete for that position."

{QUOTE}A third-round draft pick in 2006 out of the University of Miami, Butler has improved each year since arriving in Houston.

"He's come along pretty well," Benton said. "Obviously, he's still got a ways to go. I really think with some development he can become a starter in this league and an every-down tackle. If he keeps developing like he has been, then he'll be there."

Davis is the second linebacker that the Texans have signed in as many days along with Cato June. Linebackers coach Johnny Holland is pleased with the additions.

"Well, we only had four or five guys on our roster, and we definitely needed some depth to our linebacker crew," Holland said. "These were two really good additions for us. I think they bring speed and leadership qualities to our group, and we're very excited about having them."

Davis, who is built like a truck at 5-9, 239 pounds, was a 2007 third-round draft pick from Florida State who spent last season with the Indianapolis Colts. He appeared in six games with three starts and finished with 26 tackles. Davis should compete with Kevin Bentley for backup middle linebacker duties behind DeMeco Ryans.

"I like his motor," Holland said of the Daytona Beach, Fla., native. "I like his intensity and I like what Buster brings to the table as far as his personality. He's a tough guy. So we're looking forward to him coming in and being really productive at special teams for us and playing 'MIKE' linebacker and playing any position as needed. We're very excited to have him."

The Texans now have eight linebackers on their roster: Ryans, Xavier Adibi, Zac Diles, Bentley, Chaun Thompson, Kevis Coley, June and Davis.

Davis is the fifth unrestricted free agent signed by the Texans this offseason, joining June, defensive tackle Shaun Cody, quarterback Dan Orlovsky and defensive end Antonio Smith.

With Butler re-signing, Houston has re-signed six free agents from its 2008 roster. The Texans also have placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on cornerback Dunta Robinson.

Following are the free agents the Texans have signed:
DT Shaun Cody 6-4, 310
LB Buster Davis 5-9, 239
LB Cato June 6-0, 227
QB Dan Orlovsky 6-5, 230
DE Antonio Smith 6-4, 285

Following are the free agents the Texans have re-signed:
WR David Anderson 5-10, 194
T Rashad Butler 6-4, 309
TE Joel Dreessen 6-4, 260
S Nick Ferguson 5-10, 201
DE Stanley McClover 6-2, 263
C Chris White 6-2, 292
FS Eugene Wilson 5-10, 195



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