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Houston Texans

Where are they now: J.J. Moses


Moses served as the Texans' primary kick returner in 2003 and 2004.

EDITOR'S NOTE: *This offseason, will get back in touch with former Texans to find out what they're up to now in their post-NFL lives. Below is the second installment of our "Where are they now?" series.
J.J. Moses overcame long odds to reach the NFL. Now, the former Texans returner is sharing his story in the hopes of inspiring others to reach their dreams.

At 5-6, Moses was the shortest player in the NFL when he was with the Texans in 2003-04. Since retiring after the 2005 season, he has been taking classes at the University of Houston to finish his degree in liberal arts and sciences. Moses also has been exploring his newfound passion for motivational speaking, visiting high schools and businesses around Houston to tell the unlikely story of his football career.

"In life, we all face troubles and we go through difficult times, and sometimes just one encouraging word can really, really help you," said Moses, also a volunteer usher at Lakewood Church. "What I try to do to impact these people that I'm talking to is just to tell them never to give up, to keep following their hearts' desires, to trust and never to doubt that even though they might not be where they want to be right now, if they continue to stay focused and work hard, their dreams will eventually come true."

Moses would know. He was an undrafted free agent out of Iowa State signed by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2001. He was cut before the season, signed to the Green Bay Packers' practice squad, cut a week later, re-signed to the Chiefs' practice squad a month later and sent to NFL Europe the following season. After a year with the Scottish Claymores, Moses returned to the NFL with the Texans in 2003.

Relying on equal parts quickness, vision and determination, the diminutive Moses amassed 2,658 kickoff return yards and 553 punt return yards in two seasons in Houston. He averaged 22.7 yards per kick return, including a career-long 70-yarder against the New Orleans Saints in 2003, and 7.7 yards per punt return.

{QUOTE}"In my eyes – well, in a lot of people's eyes – there was no way that I was supposed to make it out of high school football being only 5-6," Moses said. "I think with my story, I can relate to so many people because in this day and age, everybody can relate to the underdog.

"When they see a guy that made it to the National Football League at 5-6, I believe it gives people some sort of hope that they can carry over to their lives. They might say, 'If *that *guy can make it into the National Football League, then what I'm going through, I definitely can make it.'"

For the past year, Moses has been a member of the Houston Texans Ambassadors, a group of former Texans and NFL players that represents the team at games and in the community. He has been a fixture at community-focused events such as a Hurricane Ike relief effort last September and a football camp for visually impaired students this January.

"People always say that when one door closes, another one opens and it's even better than the one that just got closed," Moses said. "Being a part of a lot of these events that I'm doing, I'm actually having more fun than playing in the NFL. Of course, the money's nowhere near what it was, but at the same time, I have fulfillment doing this type of work. It's a total joy and I love representing the Texans. It's a great franchise and a great organization."

Moses has remained in contact with former Texans teammates such as wide receiver Corey Bradford and defensive tackle Jerry DeLoach. Through his involvement with the Ambassadors, Moses said he also has gotten to know current Texans including Matt Turk, Jacoby Jones and Steve Slaton.

A staunch Texans supporter, Moses says that he sees a totally different Texans team now than when he was in a Texans uniform, beginning with head coach Gary Kubiak and general manager Rick Smith.

"Top to bottom, you see that the whole team is just really transforming," he said. "After those back-to-back 8-8 seasons, I think that these guys will eventually be a playoff team, and I really do believe this year will be their greatest year. Right now, their record really hasn't indicated how good of a team they really are, but this is a great group of guys. The NFL better be on the watch-out for these guys this year."

As for his own future, Moses, on track to graduate from Iowa State this summer, doesn't have any bold predictions just yet.

"This is what my passion is; I love to encourage people," he said. "I would love to be able to be in a position where I can help people and give them opportunities just like I was able to get an opportunity. Whatever that door may consist of, let it be, but right now I'm just going to keep going to school and see what happens."

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