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Houston Texans

Texans sign cornerback Jamar Fletcher

Jamar Fletcher made it pretty clear Wednesday that given the choice he would like to be in a Texans uniform this fall. Thursday, Houston signed Fletcher to a free agent pact bolstering a rapidly improving roster.

Fletcher becomes the sixth free agent that Houston has plucked from another team this offseason and is the fourth player added to a defense that ranked among the league's best over the last two months of last season.

Fletcher is expected to compete for time at cornerback. He had the best season of his six-year career in 2006 as a member of the Detroit Lions.

Fletcher set a personal best with three interceptions and his first career touchdown, an 88-yard return against the Minnesota Vikings. He finished the season with 29 tackles, two passes defensed and three special teams tackles.

For his career, the former first-round pick from the University of Wisconsin has 142 tackles, seven interceptions, 26 passes defensed and a pair of fumble recoveries.

The need to add a veteran cornerback became crucial after Lewis Sanders was lost to the Atlanta Falcons in free agency.

"When you lose a veteran player you need to replace that player," Texans defensive coordinator Richard Smith said. "What we're excited about is that we were able to find a veteran player to replace Lewis Sanders."

Fletcher shined for the Lions last season in large part due to an opportunity given to him after the Lions suffered some injuries in their defensive backfield. He made it clear during his visit that he was looking for an opportunity to recapture that success this season.

In Houston, he'll have that chance, but no promise of playing time has been made to Fletcher or for any other free agent the Texans have added to the defensive side of the ball this offseason.

"He played a lot for Detroit due to injuries," Smith said. "What' he'll have to do, just like any of the free agent players that we've signed on the defensive side of the ball, is compete just like the rest of the players on this team."

Fletcher was sold quickly on the Texans organization and a relationship he forged with one of the Texans coaches while he was in high school certainly didn't hurt.

"(Texans defensive backs coach) Jon Hoke had recruited him out of high school and knows him very, very well," Smith said. "We have a little bit of personal background with him that goes way back."

That may have been enough for the former Lion, who rejected overtures from the Chiefs and Titans landing instead in Houston.

The Texans also announced Thursday that the have re-signed restricted free agent cornerback Von Hutchins.

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