7 Texans who should have played their entire careers in Houston

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Mark Lane
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The Houston Texans have had some legends and fan favorites since the franchise’s 2002 inception. However, some of the biggest names in team history have rarely played their entire NFL careers in Houston.

In no particular order, here are seven players who should have spent their entire NFL careers with the Texans.

1. WR Andre Johnson

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future-texans-break-andre-johnsons-receiving-yards-mark

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Johnson had every receiving record in team history. However, second-year coach Bill O'Brien felt the All-Pro wideout was getting too old to be a starter. Nate Washington, who replaced Johnson in Houston, caught 47 passes for 658 yards and four touchdowns in 2015. Johnson caught 41 passes for 503 yards and four scores with the Indianapolis Colts that year. Washington was 32 years old, not some spring chicken. There was no reason for Johnson to lose his starting job and have to depart the team to seek playing time.

2. QB Matt Schaub

Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Schaub is a special exception. The Atlanta Falcons drafted him in Round 3 in 2004, and he posted an 0-2 record in his three seasons with the club. However, he was still in somewhat of a QB pupa when he got to the Texans, where he established himself as a passing title winner, franchise record setter, and playoff winner. The two-time Pro Bowler had a horrendous 2013 season, as did the Texans in general with a 2-14 finish. However, he didn't get any consideration from the incoming coach, Bill O'Brien. Schaub finished out his career as a backup in Oakland (2014), Baltimore (2015), and back to Atlanta (2016-20). Could Schaub have really been any worse than Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett, Case Keenum, T.J. Yates, and Brian Hoyer? The team could have still shelled out money for Brock Osweiler in the 2016 offseason, or even traded up for Deshaun Watson in 2017. Even with as abominable as Schaub was in 2013, he could have rebounded and outperformed the cavalcade of pretenders that took snaps over the two seasons after he left.

3. RB Arian Foster

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texans-arian-foster-43-best-undrafted-free-agents

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

While all eyes were on Steve Slaton and Ben Tate to become the Texans' feature back, the 2009 undrafted free agent from Tennessee won the NFL rushing title in 2010 and put a stop to that. Foster was the perfect complement to Wade Phillips' dominant defense and was a quarterback's best friend. He only played four games in 2015, his last year with the team. Maybe it was time to move on from Foster, but keeping in a reserve role until Father Time said his career was over would have been more fitting than letting him play with the Miami Dolphins.

4. LT Duane Brown

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Texans drafted Brown in Round 1 of the 2008 NFL draft to protect Schaub's blindside. Even though he was a three-time Pro Bowler and an All-Pro, a stalwart at left tackle, the Texans wouldn't rework his contract with two years remaining. After a lengthy holdout that included the first six games of the 2017 season, Houston traded him to the Seattle Seahawks. Maybe the Laremy Tunsil trade doesn't even happen if they don't give away Brown.

5. WR DeAndre Hopkins

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best-photos-texans-23-20-win-buccaneers

(AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

Hopkins was so great he made All-Pro in 2017 when he played nine games with Tom Savage and T.J. Yates as compared to seven with rookie Deshaun Watson. Hopkins moved the chains and was a great influence off the field. In the summer of 2018, he invited high school football players to train with him at Hermann Park. Hopkins endeavored to be as great of a human as he did a football player. Like Brown, he wanted to renegotiate his contract, and thus he was traded for peanuts in the 2020 offseason.

6. CB Kareem Jackson

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kareem-jackson-giving-broncos-intel-texans

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Texans selected Jackson in Round 1 of the 2010 NFL draft. He never made a Pro Bowl with Houston, but he was a fan favorite and a locker room leader. The Texans let him walk in 2019 free agency, and he signed with the Denver Broncos, playing in 29 games, collecting 160 tackles, picking off three passes, breaking up 14 others, recovering two fumbles, and returning one for a touchdown. The Texans could have used that type of production from their cornerbacks over the past two years.

7. DE J.J. Watt

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texans-10-expensive-contracts-guaranteed-money

(AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

Watt may be the franchise's first Hall-of-Famer, presuming that Johnson has trouble getting in. No one loved the Texans, the city of Houston more than Watt. Letting him out of the franchise is one of the bleakest moments in the history of the team.

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