Texans pick up special-teams ace Wynn off waivers

Hoping to bolster a return game that has lacked explosiveness in the absence of 2005 Pro Bowl performer Jerome Mathis, the Houston Texans have claimed cornerback and return man Dexter Wynn off waivers from the Philadelphia Eagles.

A three-year veteran, Wynn was released earlier this week, when the Eagles signed free agent cornerback William James, who was formerly known as Will Peterson. To create a roster spot, the Texans released two-year veteran cornerback Derrick Johnson.

Wynn, 25, was a sixth-round choice of the Eagles in the 2004 draft, and the former Colorado State star appeared in 28 games during his tenure in Philadelphia.

Playing primarily as a spare cornerback in nickel or dime coverage packages, Wynn posted 37 tackles, one sack and nine passes defensed. His bigger contribution came on special teams, where Wynn averaged 19.1 yards on 35 kickoff returns and had 53 punt returns for an 8.2-yard average. On 18 kickoff returns in 2006, Wynn has averaged 20.1 yards.

He had 23 tackles on the special teams coverage units for the Eagles over the last three seasons.

While he could eventually earn playing time in the Houston secondary, his most immediate benefit to the Texans, acknowledged coach Gary Kubiak, will be on special teams. There is a chance, in fact, that Wynn will play in Sunday's game against the New York Giants.

"He's returned punts and kickoffs in Philly and had some big games," Kubiak said. "With our situation, to have a guy who could do both, to be solid in both areas, it would help our football team."

Mathis, who made the Pro Bowl squad as a rookie in 2005, has been on the physically unable to perform list since August, and may not return this season.

In three games this season, Anderson, a second-year veteran who played in San Francisco in 2005, posted one tackle and one fumble recovery.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.