Texans sign FB Vickers, who'll compete with Casey


The Texans signed former Cleveland Browns fullback Lawrence Vickers as an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday.

Vickers (6-0, 250), who grew up in Houston, blocked for three 1,000-yard rushers in five seasons with the Browns. The Texans were looking for a veteran fullback after Vonta Leach left in free agency, and Vickers gives them one to compete with James Casey at the position.

"It's a good opportunity for him with our football team," Kubaik said of Vickers. "I think he fits what we do. It will be a great competition between him, James and these young guys (undrafted free agents Zach Pauga and Bubba Bartlett) we got in here. We're excited to get him. It gives us some avenues as an offensive football team since we lost Vonta."

Kubiak made it clear that Casey, a tight end who backed up Leach for the last two seasons, is getting the first crack at Leach's job. Casey added 10-15 pounds of muscle this offseason in case the opportunity to play fullback arose, and his outstanding hands could make him a versatile weapon out of the backfield.

"James is our starting fullback, and Vickers is coming here to compete with him," Kubiak said. "James gives us a lot of options as a football team, so that's the good thing, but it will be a heck of a competition."

Vickers, 28, played in 76 games with 36 starts in Cleveland. He has 271 career receiving yards on 41 receptions (6.6 avg.) with three touchdowns. He also has 33 career carries for 87 yards (2.6 avg.).

Last season, Cleveland's Peyton Hillis ran for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns with Vickers as his lead blocker. Vickers also was the Browns' lead blocker when running back Jamal Lewis had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2007 and 2008.

"He's very athletic," Kubiak said. "He's a high-spirited player, very emotional player on the field when you watch him play. He loves to hit. We were looking for guys from an iso standpoint, and he's played good special teams in this league. When you've got a fullback or two fullbacks on your roster and they're playing special teams, that's a good thing. I just think he's a good fit, and I think this offense is kind of tailor-made to him, too, with his athletic ability."

Born in Beaumont, Vickers starred at Forest Brook High School, just 13 miles northeast of Reliant Stadium. He was a sixth-round pick out of Colorado by the Browns in 2006.

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