Marlon Mack will stay with the Texans. Despite being released Tuesday as the team cut its roster down to 53 players, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets the veteran running back is returning on a practice squad deal.
One of several veteran backs to arrive in Houston during Nick Caserio‘s GM tenure, Mack being moved off the team’s active roster was undoubtedly a step back in his quest to show he can still be an NFL starter. But the Texans will keep the sixth-year veteran around as insurance.
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Part of a 2017 running back draft class that has enticed teams to buck the trend against valuing backs — as the eight-figure-per-year deals for Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, Aaron Jones, Alvin Kamara and Joe Mixon have shown — Mack saw his path toward a Colts extension or higher-end free agency pact stonewalled by a September 2020 Achilles tear. With Jonathan Taylor emerging in Indianapolis last season, Mack — who re-signed with the Colts on a one-year, $2MM deal in 2021 — his predecessor did not see the field much. That led him out of Indiana this offseason.
The Texans also gave Mack a one-year, $2MM deal, but they cut bait on it before the regular season began. Mack now sits behind fourth-round rookie Dameon Pierce and veterans Rex Burkhead, Royce Freeman and Dare Ogunbowale.
The Texans keeping four backs stands to provide more hurdles for Mack. The former Colts 1,100-yard rusher is almost two years removed from the Achilles injury, but that injury has proven to be a considerable impediment for running backs. A 2017 fourth-round pick, Mack is going into his age-26 season.