As expected, Brennan Scarlett will be rejoining the Texans this weekend. Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston reports (via Twitter) that the organization has activated the rookie linebacker from the injured reserve. To make room on the roster, the team has waived cornerback Al-Hajj Shabazz. We learned earlier this week that Scarlett had been designated as the club’s injured reserve/return player.
The undrafted rookie out of Stanford was a revelation through the preseason and the first month of the season. In five games, the linebacker only compiled five tackles, but coaches noted the 23-year-old’s “size and aggressiveness.” Furthermore, as our own Dallas Robinson pointed out, Scarlett was widely regarded as one of the team’s best pass rushers throughout the preseason. In total, Scarlett played 29 defensive snaps and 63 special teams snaps before being sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Scarlett’s activation is especially impressive considering the other names sitting on the Texans injured reserve. As Dallas pointed out, J.J. Watt, Braxton Miller, Jaelen Strong, Derek Newton, Kevin Johnson, Nick Martin, and Devon Still are all out for the season, and Scarlett’s activation means these players will remain on the injured reserve. While the linebacker was presumably activated because he was the healthiest of the bunch, it’s still impressive for an undrafted rookie to be so highly regarded by an organization.
Scarlett will join a crowded linebacker corps that already features Whitney Mercilus, Brian Cushing, Benardrick McKinney, John Simon, Max Bullough, Akeem Dent, and Brian Peters. Simon missed last week’s game, which perhaps necessitated the activation of Scarlett. Mercilus is also struggling through a back injury.
Shabazz has bounced around the league since going undrafted out of West Chester in 2015. The cornerback spent the 2015 season with the Colts and Buccaneers, and he spent the majority of this season with the Steelers. The 24-year-old was cut by the organization in early December, and he was picked up by the Texans only days later. Shabazz ultimately played in one game with the Texans.
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