Charles James got in a Honda Accord and told the Uber driver, "Just drive, man."
"You have no destination?" the driver asked.
"No," James responded.
It was Oct. 17 and James was in Santa Clara, California with the Baltimore Ravens, who were playing the 49ers the next day. The 25-year-old cornerback had just gotten the news that he was cut from the team, after finally being called up to the active roster only days earlier. He had traveled across the country with the team, only to be disappointed when he arrived. James understood it was part of the business and didn't hold any hard feelings towards Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome. Still, he was devastated.
"My heart was so messed up," James said Tuesday on Texans Radio. "Football is the game I love. I love playing. That's why I play the way that I do on Sundays."
James, who spent most of 2014 and all of 2015 training camp on the Texans practice squad, didn't know what to do. He was a long way from home and needed time to himself. So he called Uber and shelled out over $100 for a trip with no destination.
"It was a long ride," James said. "I put my headphones on, 'Just drive, man.' I was in California, I didn't know what was going on, time was different. I didn't want to call anybody."
James stayed in California and watched the Ravens game from the stands. He flew back with the team, even though he was no longer a part of it. The next day, James got the phone call he never expected.
"I had all of Monday to be sad," James said. "Four o'clock (Texans general manager) Rick (Smith) calls and says, 'It's time to come home.' Yeah, it's time to come home, let's go!"
James was happy to return to Houston, but he believes if anyone was happier, it was his mother.
"For me going back to Houston, it was big for her because she was like, he's back around all his friends, the people that love him the most, the city that loves him the most, and what better place to be than Houston," James said. "This is almost like a dream season. You get cut, you go to a place, get cut from there, come back here, one step away from the playoffs. Hey, I'll take it any day."
James has seen action in eight games this year as a Texan with his first career NFL start on Nov. 22 against the New York Jets.