HOUSTON -- Despite making for lively media chatter, there is nothing to the controversy involving Houston Texans running backs Arian Foster and Ben Tate, according to the players themselves.
Their carries should be almost equal when the Texans host the Tennessee Titans in their first game at Reliant Stadium. Until Foster runs the way he used to, Tate will get a lot of carries.
A lot of fans and members of the media tried to make a controversy out of Foster's sideline demeanor at San Diego against the Chargers. In the fourth quarter of Monday night's 31-28 victory, Tate started to jog to the sideline, and Foster trotted on the field. Then a coach told Tate to return to the huddle.
Foster went back to the sideline and could be seen reacting angrily.
Foster played for the first time since the playoff loss at the New England Patriots and struggled for most of the game. He showed no signs of the calf and back injuries that kept him out, but he averaged only 3.2 yards on 18 carries. He caught six passes for 33 yards. He also dropped two passes.
Foster was stopped on third-and-one and fourth-and-one situations.
Tate ran much better than Foster, finishing with 55 yards on nine carries, an average of 6.1 per carry.
"Just frustration on my part," is the way Foster described his sideline reaction to not being in the game on that series. "I wanted to be in the game.
"The first game out, I had a lot of rust to knock off. I felt like I played OK, but I could always play better."
Foster had no issue with Tate.
"He's one of my best friends on the team," Foster said. "We're really close. I'm always pulling for him while he's out there. That's the kind of relationship we have."
Coach Gary Kubiak said he wants to get Tate more carries against Tennessee, possibly as many as Foster receives.
"That has to be OK with me," Foster said. "We're chess pieces. Coach makes the final ruling, but as a competitor, I've been in this league. I've played well throughout my tenure here. You want to be out there. You feel like you've earned that right to be out there. That's just where the frustration comes from."
Tate, who was bothered by nagging injuries last season, understands Foster's frustration.
"He's a competitor, and any real competitor would want to be out there," Tate said. "I'm the same way. When he's on the field, I want to be out there. I guess I learned maybe to not show it as much because I've been through it a lot more than him. I understand where he's coming from. I feel like when I'm out there I help the team, and I'm sure he feels like when he's out there he helps the team. It's just the competitiveness in both of us."