The Houston Texans are giving Ronnie Brown an opportunity to continue his career.
The 32-year-old Brown joined the Texans on Tuesday in a reshuffling of the lineup of running backs behind Arian Foster. Houston also added William Powell and cut Andre Brown, Dennis Johnson and Tim Cornett.
The second overall pick by Miami in 2005, Brown had only 91 carries over the past two seasons in San Diego. He was confident – just not 100 percent sure – that an NFL team would give him a chance this season as he worked to stay in football shape back home in Atlanta.
”You can’t assume anything in this business,” Brown said. ”You just try to take it for what it’s worth, take it one day at a time. The opportunities and the things you can control (are) what you have in front of you.”
Brown won’t guess on how many productive seasons he has left. He’s just thankful the Texans are taking a chance on him.
”Obviously, this is my passion,” Brown said. ”I love to do it and it feels good to be out here and be a part of the team. I still feel like I have a long way to go and I still feel like I have a lot left.”
His best statistical season came way back in 2006, when he topped 1,000 yards rushing for the only time in his career. He earned his only Pro Bowl invitation in 2008, rushing for 961 yards and 10 touchdowns as he split carries with Ricky Williams. He played six seasons in Miami and remains the Dolphins’ third all-time rusher (4,815 yards), behind Williams (6,436 yards) and Larry Csonka (6,737 yards).
Brown’s career started to fade after he signed with Philadelphia in 2011. He dropped behind starter LeSean McCoy and rookie Dion Lewis on the depth chart early in the season and the Eagles tried to trade him to Detroit for running back Jerome Harrison.
The deal was rescinded when Harrison was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Brown finished the year with only 42 carries and signed with San Diego in the offseason.
Now entering his 10th season, Brown felt reinvigorated on Tuesday, eager to test the Houston humidity for the remainder of training camp. He’ll lean heavily on Foster to get familiar with the offense, and feels as if his experience will speed up his learning curve.
”It’s a lot of things that I’ve got to get done fairly quickly,” Brown said. ”But at the same time, I think we have a little bit of time.”
The 26-year-old Powell is a Houston native. He was picked up by Arizona as an undrafted free agent in 2011 and rushed for 217 yards on 60 carries in 13 games for the Cardinals in 2012.
With Foster sidelined for most of training camp with a hamstring injury, Jonathan Grimes and rookie Alfred Blue took the majority of the carries in the preseason opener in Arizona. Andre Brown, signed in the offseason to potentially back up Foster, didn’t have any carries against the Cardinals.
”Those guys that we released worked very hard,” coach Bill O’Brien said. ”It wasn’t a matter of any one of them doing anything particularly wrong. It was more a matter of, `Hey, we got a chance to bring in some guys as we look toward the final roster in three weeks. We got a chance to have some guys here to see if we can improve the team.”’
The Texans will hold joint practices this week with Atlanta before playing the Falcons on Saturday night.
Notes: Foster and star receiver Andre Johnson sat out Tuesday’s workout. O’Brien said if they’re cleared by trainers, Foster and Johnson may both practice and play against the Falcons this week. … Rookie NT Louis Nix III, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery before training camp, came off the physically unable to perform list and returned to practice. … Rookie fullback Jay Prosch was also back at practice after a long absence, working with a bulky cast covering his left hand and wrist.