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Whitney Mercilus cleared to return

The Texans offseason workout program kicked off with a healthy Whitney Mercilus on the field. 

"100 percent, no doubt," Mercilus said Tuesday. "Got cleared a month ago. Ready to rock and roll."

Mercilus played just five games before a torn pectoral muscle ended his 2017 season. He admits his first season-ending NFL injury has taught him patience and to take road to recovery one day at a time. Now six months later, Mercilus is eager to get back on the field with his teammates.

"Despite the pec, as far as having a year of recovery on the body, I feel fresh, I feel energized," Mercilus said. "I need somewhere to put all of this energy so I can't wait to put on the pads and definitely see the first person to hit and put everything into it."

His return is great news for a Texans defense that lost both Mercilus and J.J. Watt to season-ending injuries on the same drive against Kansas City on Oct. 8. Watt, who rehabbed with Mercilus, referred to the eight-year veteran as "one of the most underrated players in the league."

"I think Whitney is an incredible pass rusher," Watt said. "I think he's great in run defense, but I think he's one of the most underrated pass rushers in the league. I think that having him back out on the field at full strength and being able to be some things that he's capable of, really excited about that. He's a guy that I think can bring a ton of production and a ton of success to the squad."

The Texans are currently in Phase 1 of their nine-week offseason program.

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