When the time comes, Wade Smith wants to finish his NFL career as a Houston Texan.
The 2012 Pro Bowler is an unrestricted free agent after starting every game the past four seasons at left guard. On Monday morning, Smith and several of his friends read to students at Park Place Elementary. He also took a little time to talk football and his future.
"Hopefully I can come back and be a Texan again, but we'll just have to see if we can get on the same page with the front office," Smith said. "Hopefully I can finish my career here. That's my goal."
Smith, 32, joined the club in 2010 and helped the Texans to a pair of AFC South titles in 2011 and 2012. In the latter season he was selected to the Pro Bowl, where he represented the Texans on the AFC squad. With 11 years in the NFL as a member of four different franchises, Smith has seen quite a bit. He thinks the culture change brought on by new head coach Bill O'Brien, with whom he's already met, will be a positive for Houston.
"You can tell that he's a no-nonsense type of guy," Smith said. "A guy that knows what he's doing. Knows his X's and O's. Hopefully he can come here and kind of give us a jolt of life, and we can get back on track to what we had been doing the previous years and last year."
Smith said he's been working out regularly and spent quite a bit of time at Reliant Stadium this offseason. He also said he "had a little procedure on my knees, to get them ready for this next season" and that "they're feeling great".
Ultimately, Smith said the Texans can get back to the winning ways of 2011 and 2012, and doesn't think the nucleus of players is far off from that success.
"With the changes that are being made, I think that guys are going to have to re-focus and re-dedicate themselves to getting back to that level," Smith said. "I think we have the guys with the right mindset to do that."