Texans facing lawsuit

February 5, 2009 6:25:18 PM PST
A controversy brewing with the Houston Texans football team is getting national attention. Former Texans offensive lineman Ben Stevenson said he's going to sue the team and that he and another lineman have pending grievances against the team. ESPN reported that the Texans conducted illegal contact drills during offseason training activities, or OTAs, last May and three linemen suffered season-ending injuries because of it.

The Texans are not commenting, saying the matter is in litigation.

Stevenson took a video camera into the team's meeting room and taped the drill to prove it was a contact drill. He told ESPN, "For my career, my occupation, my dreams, for all this to be taken away from me, to be jeopardized as far as not just one season, but my entire football career for something that wasn't supposed to be done, I was upset."

We talked Thursday with former Texans lineman Fred Weary. He signed an affidavit saying the illegal contact drills happened, but Weary said he didn't think the affidavit would be used for ESPN, rather he thought it would be an internal team matter.

Weary told us he declined an interview with ESPN. Weary said the coaches told them it was non-contact, but players trying to make the team ramp it up during those drills to impress coaches so it leads to contact.

Another Texan who didn't want his name used, said the contact drills happened but he thinks Stevenson is trying to milk the situation for a check. The player said that Stevenson was paid by the Texans last season and never worked that hard in rehab during the season.

The player also said that Stevenson sees the handwriting on the wall that he wasn't going to make the team anyway and that if someone credible like Weary was leading the charge on this, it would have more credibility.

The bottom line is that Texans players tell us they did have drills with illegal contact and that every player in the league will tell you every team does the same drills, but they haven't been caught.

The Texans could possibly lose a fourth round pick, lose a week of OTAs and head coach Gary Kubiak could be fined.

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