HOUSTON – After a long off-season, the Houston Texans took the field Friday for their first practice of training camp.
The Texans are a serious Super Bowl contender as they launched their 12th training camp in franchise history.
Many national experts consider Houston as a top three team in the AFC, right alongside the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos.
Houston won the AFC South title and a first-round playoff game in each of the last two seasons before losing in the divisional round.
One of the rookies expected to contribute on offense is wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, a first-round draft pick.
"It's almost like the first day of school; you can't sleep at night. I kept waking up like man, it's the best time here ," Hopkins said.
Linebacker Brian Cushing is fully recovered from surgery and excited to be back in camp.
"It's been a grind, it's been a really tough couple months and when you trust your preparation this much, you come out here, it's almost easy," he said. "At the same time, it's an unbelievable feeling being back. It just feels great."
The day before camp opened, the Texans placed running back Arian Foster and safety Ed Reed on the physically unable to perform list.
Reed is recovering from surgery to repair a partly torn labrum on April 30. Foster strained his right calf early in organized team activities and didn't practice again, but the team said then that he should be ready for training camp.
Receiver DeVier Posey also was placed on the physically unable to perform list. He's recovering from an Achilles tendon injury suffered in Houston's playoff loss to the Patriots.
The Texans placed linebacker Darryl Sharpton on the non-football injury list and tight end Garrett Graham on the non-football illness list.
Houston moved rookies Sam Montgomery, a linebacker, and tackle Brennan Williams to the active roster after they passed physicals. The Texans signed cornerback Elbert Mack and nose tackle Daniel Muir.