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Texans sign Caldwell, Casey


Tight end James Casey, a fifth-round draft pick from Rice, signed with the Texans on Monday.

The Texans announced today that they have signed their third- and fifth-round draft picks, center Antoine Caldwell and tight end James Casey, respectively. The pair are the fifth and sixth Texans' draft choices to sign, joining cornerback Glover Quin, tight end Anthony Hill, cornerback Brice McCain and safety Troy Nolan.

Casey realized a life-long dream when he inked his deal.

"I went through the draft and the OTAs and mini-camp and the offseason stuff (in Houston), but I wasn't officially under contract and didn't feel like I was officially part of the team," Casey said. "But now that we've got the contract stuff situated, it's kind of a dream come true. When I was actually signing that paper today, it kind of put things in perspective on all the stuff that I've been through and looking back at all the hard work kind of paying off."

Caldwell (6-2, 312) was selected in the third round (77th overall) in the 2009 NFL Draft out of Alabama.

Caldwell, an Alabama native, started 48 games during his career at Alabama, including 34 at center, 12 at left offensive guard, one at right guard and one at right tackle. He participated in 1,569 offensive snaps, allowing just one quarterback sack on 806 pass plays during his final 23 games. He finished his career with the Crimson Tide as one of eight players to serve as team captain twice in a career. He became the first Alabama football player to graduate in less than three years, earning his degree in Human Environmental Sciences.

{QUOTE}Offensive line coach John Benton thinks that Caldwell could be the Texans' seventh linemen that suits up on Sundays.

"We feel like with Antoine, we've got a developing player who could contribute this year, and his big strength is his versatility," Benton said. "He can play center or either guard spot for us and can develop at all three positions for however far that can take him down the road."

Casey (6-3, 244) was selected in the fifth round (152nd overall) in the 2009 NFL Draft from Rice.

Casey, who hails from Azle, Texas, appeared in 25 career games with 17 starts. He recorded 157 receptions for 1,914 yards and 17 touchdowns in three seasons with the Owls. His 157 receptions rank third and 1,914 receiving yards rank fourth in Rice history. He was known as a triple threat, finishing his career with 102 carries for 392 yards, completing 4-of-12 passes for 37 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. On special teams he returned 15 punts for 117 yards (7.8 avg).

Casey set school season-records with 111 receptions for 1,329 yards in 2008, becoming the first player in school history to catch more than 100 passes in a season last year. Prior to playing college football, he was selected in the seventh round of the 2003 Major League Baseball Draft by the Chicago White Sox as a pitcher.

Training camp begins July 31, and Casey knows there's no room for complacency.

"Even though it's a four-year contract, a lot of people don't understand that nothing's really guaranteed," Casey said. "So I've still got to go out there and work hard and kind of treat every day like it's my last because it really could be."

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