Inside linebacker Tim Dobbins practiced for the first time this spring at the Texans' first practice of mandatory mini-camp on Tuesday.
Dobbins did not show up for OTAs, which are voluntary. He and safety Ed Reed, who was rehabbing from a hip injury in Colorado and Atlanta, were the only Texans players not with the team for their 10 OTA practices in May and June.
"It's great being back out here with the team," Dobbins said after practice on Tuesday. "I'm pretty sure I let some of the guys down (by not being at OTAs), but at the same time, I'm hoping they understand. I hope they understand that I'm here and when I'm here, I'm giving them 110 percent of everything I have (until) there's nothing left in the tank. So I don't want them to have that doubt that I'm not going to be a part of this team and give all my effort on this team."
Dobbins, a Texans special teams captain for the last two seasons, said this is the first time he has decided not to show up for OTAs in his eight-year NFL career. He had not spoken to Texans coach Gary Kubiak as of the end of practice on Tuesday but said he was "sure it's not going to be anything polite."
"I had obligations with my family," Dobbins said. "We were renovating the house, that's what it was. We were renovating the whole house. I've been having this house for a year already. I (demolished) it all myself; I've been trying to work on it all myself and just trying to learn another skill, as far as that. But I definitely missed out on some things."
Dobbins said he did not skip OTAs to make a statement about his contract. He re-signed with the Texans in April to a one-year deal. He worked out at D1 Sports Training in Nashville, Tenn., during his time away from the team.
"My first goal here on this team is special teams, and I hope they know I know how to do that," he said. "As far as being a starter or a backup, I feel like that's second nature. I feel like my role on this team is special teams. It'd be a positive thing for me to play on defense, but I have no control of that."
Kubiak said Dobbins "did his job" on Tuesday and that it was good to have him back.
"I've barely seen him yet today," he said. "I'm glad to have him back. I'm glad he's here. We've got a lot of work to do and he had a lot of catching up to do, but he was on top of stuff today."