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BJ Emmons to hit the ground running with Houston Texans

AL.com logo AL.com 8/13/2022 Mark Inabinett, al.com

Running back BJ Emmons joined the Houston Texans on the practice field for the first time on Thursday, shortly after signing a one-year contract with the NFL team. But the former Alabama ball-carrier’s unfamiliarity with the Texans’ playbook won’t keep him out of Houston’s preseason opener on Saturday, coach Lovie Smith said.

“I think there are a few positions where you can get them in, get them out there fairly quick as far as catching them up on what we like to do,” Smith said. “Running back is one of those positions. We plan on playing BJ, simple as that.”

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Although he joined the Texans’ training camp just as it was ending, Emmons hasn’t been away from football long. He ran for 21 yards on three carries and caught a 3-yard pass on June 18 at Legion Field in the Tampa Bay Bandits 21-18 loss to the Birmingham Stallions on the final weekend of the USFL’s regular season.

The first running back chosen in the USFL Draft on Feb. 23, Emmons ran for 244 yards and one touchdown on 97 carries and gained 105 yards on 19 receptions in nine games with the Bandits.

Houston signed Emmons after running back Darius Anderson went on injured reserve because of a dislocated knee.

The Texans have five other running backs on their preseason roster.

Rex Burkhead led the Texans with 427 rushing yards in 2021, and Royce Freeman had 95 rushing yards in seven games last season for Houston. Marlon Mack is a former 1,000-yard rusher who has played seven games in the past two seasons, Dare Ogunbowale ran for 137 yards for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2021 and Dameon Pierce joined the Texans from Florida in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

The Texans start their three-game preseason schedule at 7 p.m. CDT Saturday, when the New Orleans Saints visit NRG Stadium. WKRG in Mobile and WVTM in Birmingham will televise the game.

As a freshman at Alabama in 2016, Emmons ran for 173 yards and one touchdown on 35 carries before sustaining a season-ending foot injury in the eighth game.

Emmons left Alabama after his freshman season for Hutchinson Community College, and he played for Florida Atlantic in the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

An undrafted rookie last year, Emmons signed with Seattle, but the Seahawks released him on June 16, 2021.

Emmons signed with the Las Vegas Raiders in time for training camp, and he ran for 90 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries in three preseason games in 2021.

After failing to make the regular-season roster, Emmons spent a week on the Raiders’ practice squad before being released. Emmons returned to the NFL for a week on the Seahawks’ practice squad in November, and he spent the final month of the season on the Jacksonville Jaguars’ practice squad.

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Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.

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