HOUSTON – The Texans shuffled their roster with a series of roster moves, placing nickel back and special-teams ace Tavierre Thomas on injured reserve with a quadriceps pull as well as rookie linebacker Christian Harris with a pulled hamstring and rookie tight end Teagan Quitoriano with a knee injury.
The Texans also re-signed wide receiver Chris Conley, running back Royce Freeman, and cornerback Isaac Yiadom.
Thomas is recovering well and expected to return within four to six games, per a league source.
The injury represents a setback to the Texans’ defense and special-teams units. They will lean heavily on nickel back Desmond King, Tremon Smith, and others to make up for Thomas’ absence in the secondary.
Thomas had a career-high 86 tackles and two interceptions last season in 16 games with one forced fumble. He played 56 percent of the defensive snaps and 67 percent of the special teams’ snaps.
Signed to a two-year, $4 million contract last year that includes $2 million guaranteed with a $1 million signing bonus, Thomas started a career-high three games last season.
The former undrafted free agent from Ferris State had a breakthrough season last year for the Texans and had consistently drawn praise from Texans coach Lovie Smith.
Smith said Thursday that Harris, a third-round draft pick from Alabama, wasn’t close to returning. Now, he’s out for at least four games.
Quitoriano, a fifth-round draft pick from Oregon State, dealt with the knee injury throughout the offseason and preseason, icing his knee after practices and games. He caught a touchdown in a preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams.
Texans general manager Nick Caserio previously said that Conley was expected to be re-signed soon.
He was signed to a one-year contract in the offseason. He caught 22 passes for 323 yards and two touchdowns last season.
Conley (6-foot-3, 205 pounds) has 4.35 speed in the 40-yard dash and a 45-inch vertical leap.
A former Kansas City Chiefs third-round draft pick from Georgia, Conley has 213 career receptions for 2,807 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Yiadom signed a one-year deal during the offseason. The Massachusetts native and former Boston College standout played for the Green Bay Packers last season. He’s a former Denver Broncos third-round draft pick.
He was traded to the New York Giants for a 2021 seventh-round pick 2020. He started 10 games for the Giants before being traded to the Packers for cornerback Josh Jackson last year. Yiadom was replaced as the starter for cornerback Rasul Douglas.
He has 114 career tackles and 1 interception. Yiadom (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) has run the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds.
Freeman was cut one day after he made the initial 53-man roster.
Freeman was signed to a one-year, $1.187 million contract this offseason. The deal has a $152,500 signing bonus, $1.047 million guaranteed, $1.035 million salary with $895,00 fully guaranteed.
Freeman in seven games rushed for 92 yards on 35 carries last season for the Texans. He also caught seven passes for 62 yards.
The Denver Broncos selected Freeman in the third round in 2018, recording 593 yards from scrimmage in his first season and 752 yards in his second season.
With the Carolina Panthers, he rushed for 77 yards on 21 carries before he was waived and joined the Texans.
The Texans re-signed fullback Paul Quessenberry to the practice squad. He competed with rookie fullback Troy Hairston during the preseason with Hairston making the 53-man roster.
Aaron Wilson is a Pro Football Network reporter and contributor to KPRC 2 and click2houston.com