14 Former Houston Texans Who Went On To Bigger and Better Things

It’s not that the Texans have never had good players—they’ve had dozens and dozens over the years. My personal theory is that there’s a vortex of suck around the Texans’ management that makes everybody play worse. It sounds crazy, but I have proof: an alarming number of former Texans players who’ve been cut, released, or traded and then went on to bigger and better things.They escaped the Texans’ prison, and I, like Red in The Shawshank Redemption, watched them from inside my four walls and wished them the best.

No 14: Jason Babin


Depending on who you ask, defensive end Jason Babin was either a draft bust or a late bloomer. Jason left the Houston heat in 2007 and eventually ended up in “temperate” Nashville, where he flourished as a player, made the Pro Bowl twice, and won a CMA award (okay, I made that last part up). Good for you, Jason.

No 13: Connor Barwin

Philadelphia Eagles' Connor Barwin is seen during NFL football training camp on Saturday, July 26, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

In his years in Houston, defensive end Connor Barwin was a cherished member of the “Bulls on Parade” defense as well as a focal point of the city’s hipster scene (yes, that exists in Houston). It was painful to see his value get too high for Rick Smith’s management strategy, but it’s been nice to watch him thrive with the Eagles. Here’s wishing you all the best, Connor.

No 12: Trindon Holliday


Trindon was a special teams guy who fumbled the ball a few too many times for Smith’s liking, so he was released. He was picked up by Denver (a specialist in using former Texans employees correctly) and changed his ways, setting the postseason record for a punt return (90 yards) in 2013.

No 11: Tramon Williams

packers10, spt, lynn, 11.-Tramon Williams smiles as he leaves the field following the game. The Green Bay Packers defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 21-16 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA Sunday January 9, 2011. Photo by Tom Lynn/TLYNN@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM

Tramon didn’t make it through Texans training camp before he was cut, but he later developed into a Pro Bowl, Super Bowl-winning cornerback for the Packers. That sentence alone says a LOT about the Texans organization.

No 10: Justin Forsett


After he and the Texans went their separate ways in 2013, running back Justin Forsett eventually found himself on the Ravens with a massive contract.

No 9: Brooks Reed


It pains me to think that eventually the “Bulls on Parade” will be as forgotten as the glory days of MTV. Brooks Reed was another of the guys whose Bulls membership got him a huge contract, this time with Atlanta. I was pulling for him during Super Bowl LI, I really was. His hair is still stupid though…

No 8: Matt Schaub


Jk, jk lol. But in all seriousness–Schaub was technically on a team that went to a Super Bowl. You did it, Matt.

No 7: Glover Quin


Quin is another defensive stand-out who the Texans couldn’t hang onto. He’s now on the Lions and going to Pro Bowls and stuff like that. #FML

No 6: Vonta Leach


The Texans weren’t able to hang onto fullback Vonta Leach: all he did was continue to rack up Pro Bowl selections and win a Super Bowl with former Texans teammate Jacoby Jones. Needless to say, the latter wouldn’t have happened in Houston.

No 5: Jacoby Jones

Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones (12) during the blackout delay against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Jacoby was a villain in Houston after blowing a kick return in the first play of a second round playoff game against the Ravens. He was cut shortly thereafter, but was quickly picked up—by the Ravens. The following season he made the longest kick return in Super Bowl history, for a touchdown—for the Ravens. Here’s to you, Jacoby.

No 4: Owen Daniels


Tight end Owen Daniels broke his leg during the last season of the Schaub era, and new coach Bill O’Brien cut him to save a few clams. Daniels then followed Kubiak, first to Baltimore, then to Denver, where he caught the last touchdown pass of Peyton Manning’s career and won a Super Bowl. I’m guessing he hasn’t regretted leaving for a single day. #LiterallyNoRegrets

No 3: Antonio Smith


The Ninja Assassin was another of the main cast of the Texans’ glory days who went on to win Super Bowl L for Denver (and there’s still more…). It’s hard to think of someone more deserving of Super Bowl glory than the person with perhaps the best sack dance in league history. Sayonara, Antonio.

No 2: Wade Phillips


In the wake of the Matt Schaub era, Rick Smith fired as many people he could to create the perception that radical changes were taking place (he then went on to hire as many former Patriots staffers as he could, but that’s a different story). Included in these firings was defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, the brilliant son of legendary Oilers coach Bum Phillips. Both Wade and his former boss Gary Kubiak made their way to the Broncos and won the Super Bowl. So lol, Rick.

No 1: Gary Kubiak


Kubiak paid a very heavy price for standing by his quarterback Matt Schaub. But after his Texans career was over and done with, the Houston native went to Denver and won the fifth Super Bowl that had so eluded him when he coached at home. We’re happy for you, Gary.

But in the wake of all of these arguably bad decisions, Rick Smith redeemed himself by picking up Brock Osweiler.

Bill O’Brien

Just kidding, he hasn’t left to go back to the Patriots and win more Super Bowls yet…

Did we miss anyone? Let us know at

To Top