GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Houston Texans are in Wisconsin for two joint training camp practices Monday and Tuesday with the Green Bay Packers.
Both teams open the preseason by competing in a game Thursday night at Lambeau Field.
Here are the four most interesting things that happened at Texans training camp Monday:
Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt and rookie offensive tackle Max Scharping are both in their home state of Wisconsin.
Scharping grew up in Green Bay, less than 15 minutes away from Lambeau Field, and grew up a Packers fan despite now saying he's a Texans fan.
Watt also grew up a Packers fan in Pewaukee, Wisconsin -- just two hours away from Green Bay.
Watt on coming home
"I went to one game here as a kid, at Lambeau Field. I went to one training camp practice, but to see people wearing my jersey outside of this stadium, and at this practice, even though I’ve tried to wrap my head around it, I don’t think I’ve fully wrapped my head around what it means and how special it really is to be playing on a practice field where guys like Brett Favre and Reggie White have played. It’s special. It’s really special. I would encourage every kid out there to chase their dreams because when you get the chance to accomplish a dream you had as a child, it’s one of the coolest feelings in the world. And I’m lucky to play in Houston, and I’m lucky to have a team and a program that I’ve played for, and the fans that I play for, and today is a special day for me. So, chase your dreams. They may come true.”
Scharping on coming home
"Great opportunity for me to be in front of family and friends. It's amazing that they still support me and come out."
2. Broken bikes
The Packers have a tradition at training camp in which the players ride children's bikes to the field. The Texans took part in that tradition this morning and Watt -- all 6-foot-5 and 288 pounds of him -- broke the kid's bike he rode in on.
Watt on the bike
“It was pretty awesome until I broke the bike. The bike that I was using was not equipped for a 290-pound man, and the seat broke off. We have purchased a new bike for the boy. So, I apologize for that. But it was cool. It’s one of the coolest traditions. Growing up here, I know how special it is to get to interact with a player from the Green Bay Packers as a kid growing up in Wisconsin. For them to have that tradition where kids get to be up close and personal with their favorite players and they get to hold their helmet, that’s what it’s all about. Those are the memories that those kids are going to have for a lifetime. For me to be able to participate in it as a player is really cool, and I thank the Packers for letting us do it.”
3. Backup running back battle
After the Texans cut presumed backup running back D'Onta Foreman, the No. 2 spot behind Lamar Miller is now wide open. Players such as Josh Ferguson and Taiwan Jones, who have bounced around the league, now have a shot at a solid role in the Texans' offense, as do two undrafted rookies -- Karan Higdon out of Michigan and Damarea Crockett out of Missouri. Higdon had a couple of nice runs during the 11-on-11 portion of practice.
4. Playing time on Thursday
Texans head coach Bill O'Brien acknowledged that just about everyone who traveled to Green Bay could get some snaps in Thursday's game, although it's unlikely to see much of either the first-team offense or defense.
Watt is unlikely to play after he tweaked a groin muscle Monday. The injury caused Watt to leave practice early.