Keke Coutee

Texans Work Out Prosise, Halapio, Others

The Texans are looking into some veteran free agents. Running back C.J. Prosise, wide receiver Ryan Grant, quarterback Cody Kessler and center Jon Halapio were among the players who participated in a Texans workout Wednesday.

This marks Prosise’s second August workout; he auditioned for the Lions nearly two weeks ago. The former Seahawks running back showed promise as a rookie and remained with the team throughout his four-year rookie contract, but the former third-round pick could never carve out a consistent role.

Now 30, Grant has bounced around since his Washington run ended. The nixed Ravens agreement in 2018 ended up routing him to the Colts, with whom he saw his last significant game action. Grant caught 35 passes for 334 yards in 2018. The Texans have a veteran-heavy receiving corps — headlined by the Will FullerBrandin CooksRandall CobbKenny Stills quartet — but are down Keke Coutee at the moment. The third-year wideout is batting a foot stress fracture.

The Patriots carried Kessler for part of last season but released him in April. He has not seen game action since starting four games for the 2018 Jaguars.

Halapio brings the most recent starting experience, having been the Giants’ starting center for 15 games in 2019. He was rumored as a player who could return to the Giants, but nothing has emerged on that front in a bit. The Giants non-tendered him as an RFA in March. Halapio, 29, entered the past two seasons as New York’s starting center, but a broken leg ended his 2018 slate early and an Achilles’ tendon tear knocked him out of a Week 17 game last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Chiefs, Gase, Matthews, Texans

The Chiefs announced today that they signed team president Mark Donovan to a long-term extension.

“I’d like to congratulate Mark and his family on this well-deserved recognition,” Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said. “Because of Mark’s leadership over the past decade, the business operations of the Chiefs are among the best in professional sports, and he and his team have worked tirelessly to create the best fan experience in the National Football League. Mark is an innovative leader and a talented executive who is widely respected in our industry and in the Kansas City community. I am thrilled that he will continue to be a key part of the leadership of the Chiefs for many years to come.”

Donovan joined the organization as their COO back in 2009, and he earned the promotion to his current role in 2011. The press release notes that he’s played a major role in helping to “re-establish Arrowhead Stadium as an elite venue for not only sports, but other forms of entertainment.” Donovan started working for the NFL back in 1999, and he’s also spent time with the Eagles organization.

Here are more NFL notes as we wrap up this Tuesday night:

  • Bill O’Brien said wide receiver Will Fuller is progressing from his hamstring injury (via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle on Twitter). The wideout hasn’t played since suffering the injury during the Texans‘ Week 7 loss to the Colts. Meanwhile, Keke Coutee‘s absence shouldn’t be attributed to injury; O’Brien said the wideout hasn’t played due to his lack of “attention to detail” (via Wilson). The head coach made it clear that it wasn’t an effort issue, noting that the former fourth-rounder is a “great guy.”
  • The Jets fell to 1-7 after losing to the rebuilding Dolphins, meaning Adam Gase has naturally found himself on the hot seat. However, the head coach told reporters that he isn’t focused on his job security. “It’s just something that I don’t really focus on,” Gase said (via Brian Costello of the New York Post). “My job is to try to get the team prepared every week, get them ready to go, get them focused on the game that we have to play. One and seven is not fun to go through. Things haven’t gone the way that we wanted to. It’s just that’s what happens in the NFL sometimes and unfortunately, we’re going through it right now.” Gase joined the organization back in January on a four-year contract that’s rumored to be worth upwards of $20MM.
  • It was barely a month ago that Clay Matthews broke his jaw, but the Rams linebacker is set to return to practice. Coach Sean McVay told reporters that the veteran will return to the practice field this week, and the coaching staff will evaluate his progress as they determine his availability for this weekend. “Everything’s checked out in a positive manner up to this point, so I think it’s just kind of progressing back to, ‘How comfortable do you feel putting a helmet on?’” McVay told the team’s website. “Some of the collisions that naturally would occur and just kind of trusting that you’re nice and secure in that absence of some of that stuff that kind of kept it in place and helped it heal over the last couple weeks.” Matthews has six sacks in five games with his new squad.
  • Long snapper Kevin McDermott underwent elbow surgery back in August, and the free agent has been cleared by doctors to resume snapping, tweets NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero. The 29-year-old had spent the previous four seasons with the Vikings before getting cut by the team this past August. The UCLA product has appeared in 86 career games.

Injury Updates: Hilton, Coutee, Inman

A handful of wideouts were listed as questionable heading into today’s playoff matchup between the Texans and Colts, and it sounds like the three receivers will end up playing. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that Texans wideout Keke Coutee and Colts receiver Dontrelle Inman are expected to play. Rapoport also notes that while Colts star wideout T.Y. Hilton is beat up, “the belief is he’ll play today.”

Hilton has been battling through injuries for much of the season, and he’s currently dealing with an ankle ailment that kept him out of this week’s practices. However, considering that the 29-year-old played through injuries during the regular season, it’s not all that surprising that he’ll likely see the field for a home playoff game. Andrew Luck and the Colts will continue to rely on Hilton, who finished the 2018 campaign with 76 receptions for 1,270 yards and six touchdowns.

The Colts will also be able to turn to Inman, who has been battling through shoulder and finger injuries. The 29-year-old joined the Colts in mid-October, and he ended up playing a relatively big role for Indy. Inman finished the season with 28 receptions for 304 yards and three touchdowns in nine games (four starts).

Meanwhile, Coutee is expected to return from a hamstring injury that has shelved him since the end of November. The rookie has struggled with injuries all season, limiting him to only six games. However, the Texas Tech product has been productive when on the field, hauling in 28 catches for 287 yards and one score. With Demaryius Thomas and Will Fuller sitting on the IR, Coutee should see plenty of targets playing behind DeAndre Hopkins.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Bell, Jets, Ravens, Harbaugh, Browns, Wylie

Although Le’Veon Bell‘s decision to sit out the 2018 season has caused people in the league to question “his character, competitiveness and motivation”, the Jets must go hard after Bell in free agency, opines Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Mehta writes that the Jets have a “golden opportunity” to get Sam Darnold another weapon, and quotes several of Bell’s former teammates who swear by him.

Jets defensive tackle Steve McLendon, who played with Bell in Pittsburgh, told Mehta “when he steps foot in this building, you’re going to get 100 percent from the guy” and that he would “bring the best out of so many people.” Mehta writes that the team “would be foolish not to make an aggressive run at Bell”, and he would fit right in with the New York media market. Jets GM Mike Maccagnan has said repeatedly that he plans to be aggressive using New York’s salary cap space this offseason, so Bell being a Jet is a very real possibility.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • Despite the team’s surprise announcement yesterday that John Harbaugh would return to coach the Ravens in 2019 and that the team hoped to work out an extension with him, the two sides haven’t had any talks on an extension yet, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. La Canfora seems to think that an extension is still far from a guarantee, and writes that “numerous significant matters would have to be resolved” before any deal could get done. It will be an interesting situation to monitor, especially if the Ravens end up missing the playoffs.
  • After breaking his ankle in practice, Browns offensive line coach Bob Wylie had successful surgery and is recovering well the team announced, per Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link). Wylie, who became a fan favorite due to his starring turn on this year’s season of HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’, is “questionable at best” for this weekend’s game, according to the team’s announcement.
  • The Texans will be without to key offensive playmakers for their pivotal game against the Eagles tomorrow, as the team ruled out running back Lamar Miller and receiver Keke Coutee for the game, according to James Palmer of NFL Network (Twitter link). Coutee has been out for a few weeks now, but this will be Houston’s first game without Miller in the backfield. It’ll likely be a lot of Alfred Blue against a tough Philadelphia defensive front.

Texans Sign Entire Draft Class

As a busy Thursday for rookie signings winds down, the Texans don’t have any more work to do on this front. They reached agreements with each member of their draft class Thursday night, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports (on Twitter). Here’s the full rundown:

Having traded their first- and second-round picks in the deals for Deshaun Watson and Brock Osweiler, the Texans didn’t have as difficult of a time getting their class signed. However, they agreed to terms with three third-rounders, which hasn’t always been easy for teams because of vague CBA language regarding this round.

But Reid, Rankin and Akins are in the fold, and the Texans joined the Eagles among teams that have their full classes signed. Neither made first-round picks in this draft.