For Thursday night's coin toss, head coach Bill O'Brien sent nose tackle Javi Edwards, receiver Floyd Allen and fullback Cullen Gillaspia out as the captains.
The familiar faces of Deshaun Watson, J.J. Watt, Johnathan Joseph and DeAndre Hopkins were all on the sidelines as the starters sat in the preseason finale against the Rams. In their place, went the trio of rookies, and O'Brien explained why.
"I've got three guys on the team, Cullen Gillaspia, Javi Edwards and Floyd Allen that played high school football here," O'Brien said. "I thought it would be pretty neat for those guys to go out there for the coin toss."
Gillaspia played in high school at Katy Taylor, before a college career at Texas A&M. The seventh round draft pick lined up at fullback and on special teams. The Rams won the coin toss, deferred, and Gillaspia made the call for the Texans to receive the opening kickoff. Being at midfield in that situation was eye-opening for Gillaspia.
"It was definitely a surreal experience," Gillaspia said. "To get to go out there as a captain representing your hometown team, especially with me, Floyd and Javi being from Houston, it was a really cool moment."
Edwards, an undrafted nose tackle from Colorado, played at Aldine Davis high school, and immediately thought the worst when O'Brien asked him to stand up along with Gillaspia and Allen.
"I was surprised," Edwards said. "I thought we were in trouble. I thought we did something. But it was a good moment."
Allen, from Aldine Nimitz High School, and ultimately Ole Miss, shared the same hesitation as Edwards. In the end, though, getting to be a captain in his hometown was something he termed "a blessing". He said in the pregame meeting with the entire team present, O'Brien asked for the Texans who played their high school ball in Houston to rise.
"Once he told us that we were team captains, we all looked around at each other and were like, 'Okay, this is for real'," Allen said.
The Texans players will be off for the weekend while the roster is trimmed from 90 players to 53.
Houston Texans Fans come to NRG Stadium for the fourth preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams.