Texans sign Rackers, re-sign Moats


Neil Rackers signed a 2-year deal with the Texans on Wednesday afternoon.

The Texans have signed free agent kicker Neil Rackers and re-signed restricted free agent running back Ryan Moats, the team announced today. The team does not release details on player contracts.

Rackers, 33, spent the past seven seasons with the Cardinals. He was going through airport security on his way to visit the New York Jets on Monday when his agent called to tell him he had worked out a deal to bring Rackers to Houston.

He will compete for a job with Kris Brown, who has been the Texans' only kicker since the team's inception in 2002.

"I'm excited about the opportunity," Rackers said. "My goals are just to come in and do the best job that I can and go ahead and let the Texans make the decision. I have a lot of respect of Kris Brown. He's done a lot of great things in this league, and I think it'll be good for both of us to come in and have a competition."

Rackers is 41-of-45 (91.1 percent) on field goal attempts since 2008, including 16-of-17 in 2009. He set the NFL single-season record for field goals with 40 in 2005, when he also made the Pro Bowl and was named first-team All-Pro.

Rackers has attempted only two field goals from 50 yards in the past two seasons, but he ranks fourth in the NFL since 2005 with a 23.7 percent touchback rate on kickoffs.

In his 10-year career, Rackers has made 83.4 percent (186-of-223) of his field goal attempts from inside 50 yards and 78.2 percent (205-of-262) overall.

{QUOTE}The veteran kicker also has a couple of other skillsets that endeared him to fans in Arizona.

Rackers (6-1, 206) is known as a tenacious tackler in kick coverage. He has 37 special teams tackles in his career, including 15 over the past two seasons in Arizona.

"There is some logic behind it, believe it or not," he said. "The guy with the football, the returner, is the best athlete on the field, so if I stay back and he gets through the hole, odds are I'm not catching him. If I plug the hole and force him to one of the safeties, we've got better odds of keeping him inside the 30-yard line, so that's how we play ball."

A sixth-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2000, Rackers also has a reputation for being one of the best at onside kicks in the league.

"I take a lot of pride in that," he said. "Obviously, if you're kicking it, your team needs the ball back. It's important to give them that opportunity, so that's something we work on. It's just as important as any other part of our game."

Moats (5-8, 210) joined the Texans mid-way through the 2008 season and has appeared in 23 games with two starts in Houston. He finished last season as Houston's second-leading rusher with 390 yards on 101 carries. His four rushing touchdowns led the team. In 2008, Moats was third on the squad with 94 yards on 26 carries.

Moats entered the NFL as a third-round pick (77th overall) of Philadelphia in the 2005 NFL Draft and played in 15 games with one start in three seasons with the Eagles. The 27-year-old Dallas native was tendered by the Texans on March 4, making him a restricted free agent.

Follow Nick Scurfield on Twitter at *twitter.com/NickScurfield or find him on the "I'm A Texan Club" at imatexan.com/profiles/Nick_Scurf/.*

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