Looking to bolster their pass rush opposite Mario Williams, the Texans signed defensive end Mark Anderson on Thursday. They released defensive end Ryan Denney, who signed with the team on Sept. 15.
Anderson (6-4, 255) played with Texans linebacker DeMeco Ryans at Alabama. He had 12 sacks in 2006 as a rookie with the Chicago Bears but only 9.5 sacks over the last three-plus seasons. He was released by the Bears on Tuesday.
"I studied him hard coming out (of college)," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "We knew DeMeco had played with him, and DeMeco really stood up for him. He had a lot of success early in his career, not so much the last year and a half. He's got some pass rush ability. We'll take a look."
Ryans and Anderson were college teammates for four years. In their senior season in 2005, Alabama had the top-ranked scoring defense in the nation. Ryans was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and Anderson was named second-team All-SEC after leading the Crimson Tide with 7.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss.
"He's a good teammate," Ryans said. "He's a good pass rusher coming off the edge, an explosive guy. I think he's going to help us out a lot once he gets acclimated to our defensive scheme and everything. He's going to help us out a lot rushing a passer.
"I've been in those situations where Gary's come and asked me about other guys, but if a guy doesn't fit our team, I wouldn't want him here. I know Mark can come in and help us out a lot."
The Texans have been searching for help for Williams with defensive ends Connor Barwin and Tim Bulman out for the season with injuries. Williams has five of the Texans' nine sacks through four games.
Anderson, 27, had five sacks in 2007, one in 2008 and 3.5 in 2009. He had eight tackles with the Bears this season.
"I'm a high energy-type guy," Anderson said. "I just like to get after the ball and try to make plays and create havoc, just have fun... They have some good packages that I've been learning, and I think I could make some plays (here)."
Denney, 33, played in two games with the Texans. He was inactive this past Sunday at Oakland.