Rackers wins starting job over Brown

Houston Texans' Neil Rackers (4) and Kris Brown before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Houston Texans NFL preseason football game Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

September 4, 2010 5:04:25 AM PDT
For the first time in franchise history, it appears the Texans are moving in a new direction at the kicker position. During preseason, the most closely-watched battle was that for place kicker following Kris Brown's disappointing 2009 season. Neil Rackers was brought in to compete with Brown for the job. This morning, Eyewitness Sports Director Bob Allen received a text message from Brown, saying he had been cut, meaning the nod goes to Rackers.

Brown joined the Texans in their inaugural season in 2002. Before that, he kicked for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Rackers spent the previous seven seasons in Arizona. He made the Pro Bowl in 2005 after setting an NFL record for field goals in a season (40).

Houston coach Gary Kubiak said all along that the kicker who loses the competition at Texans camp will likely kick for another team this season. Brown's agent Glenn Schwartzman says he's confident his client will play somewhere this season.

"We're kind of going to just digest what just happened," Schwartzman said. "The first situation that makes sense to us, we'll definitely strongly consider that. But we're not in a rush to just take something, just to take something. We want to make sure it's a place where he and his family can be for a while."

Kubiak said Brown and Rackers were in a virtual dead heat after neither missed a field-goal try in the first three preseason games. Brown missed a 56-yard attempt, and Rackers hit a 21-yarder in Thursday's 24-17 loss to Tampa Bay.

Kubiak said the decision would be one of the hardest of his coaching career. Brown went 29-of-33 on field-goal attempts in 2008, the highest percentage of his 11-year career. He was also active in Houston charities.

"It's been a great ride for him," Schwartzman said. "He loves the Texans organization and the city. He did everything he could to put himself in a position to stay with the team. He had one of the best camps he's ever had. He competed really hard, but the team made the decision it made, and he's got to respect that and get ready for his next opportunity."

Other moves

Cornerback Jacques Reeves was also cut after he was outplayed by younger, less experienced players at training camp.

Kubiak was secretive about other players released Friday. He said the Texans are still mulling some decisions, and would put out the full list of cuts on Saturday, the deadline for teams to trim their rosters to 53 players.

Kubiak said he's sticking with Dan Orlovsky as the backup quarterback, despite his uneven performance in Thursday's preseason finale. Orlovsky completed his first eight passes before throwing two interceptions in the first half.

"I can't dismiss the great camp he's had," Kubiak said. "I'm not going to throw that away because he made two poor decisions. Now, do I like those decisions? Can we win with those decisions? No. But I can't but help but think of the good things he's done this camp, the progress he's made."

Kubiak said former Southern Cal quarterback John David Booty would not make the final 53, but might be placed on Houston's practice squad. Booty threw for 209 yards and two touchdown passes against Tampa Bay.

The Texans worked out running backs Derrick Ward and Justin Fargas on Friday as they look to replenish depth at the position. Arian Foster has earned the starting role, but Steve Slaton and Jeremiah Johnson have sustained recent toe injuries.

"Obviously, we've got a running back issue on our football team right now, so we'll be talking to a bunch of people," Kubiak said. "We'll be looking at the waiver wire very, very closely. We've got some issues to try and get cleaned up."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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