Green bolts Packers to join Texans
In a move that figures to have ramifications for several tailbacks who are available either in free agency or via trade, the Houston Texans on Sunday evening reached a contract agreement with unrestricted veteran Ahman Green.
Tailback Ahman Green is No. 14 on ESPN.com's list of the top NFL free agents on the market. Story
The veteran tailback will sign a four-year, $23 million contract that includes between $6 million-$7 million in guarantees.
Green, 30, visited with Houston officials over the weekend and the club moved quickly to strike a deal that addresses one of its biggest offseason priorities. Of all the tailbacks who are available, Green, despite his age, was targeted by Houston coaches.
The deal reunites Green with Texans assistant head coach Mike Sherman, who was his head coach with the Green Bay Packers for six seasons. The presence of Sherman, and Green's knowledge of the basic offense, played a role in his decision.
Green visited in recent days with Denver Broncos officials and also considered re-signing with the Packers.
"We're excited to get this deal done because Ahman's been a successful running back in this league for a long time," Texans general manager Rick Smith said. "We're going to hitch our wagon to him. We're not worried about his age because he takes great care of himself and is in great condition. One of the many things we like about him is his versatility. Not only can he run the ball, but he's an excellent receiver, too. We think he's an ideal fit for our system."
The nine-year veteran, who has played the past seven seasons for the Packers, is coming off a 2006 season in which he re-established himself as a top runner. Green missed all but five games in 2005 because of a quadriceps injury, but started 14 contests in 2006 and rushed for 1,059 yards and five touchdowns on 266 carries.
It marked the sixth time in seven seasons that Green had rushed for 1,000 yards.
Green said facing the possibility of leaving Green Bay would be difficult.
"That's where the majority of my career is at," Green said. "I think speaking in general with anybody that has been in a situation for a long time, regardless of if it was good or bad, I've been there seven years. Some good, some bad, but regardless of the fact, staying or leaving will be tough. I don't know yet, but, I think for anybody generally speaking it would be tough to do. When you're a kid and you transfer a school, and that school you have all your buddies, regardless of if it was good times or bad times, it's still a tough time to leave."
For his career, the former Nebraska star has carried 1,871 times for 8,491 yards and 54 touchdowns. He also has 350 receptions for 2,710 yards and 14 touchdowns. He has appeared in 126 games and started in 91 of them.
Houston ranked 21st in rushing offense in 2006 and head coach Gary Kubiak, a strong proponent of the running game, knows the Texans must do better. The Texans played the entire 2006 season without their starting tailback, Domanick Williams (who changed his name from Domanick Davis), who suffered a knee injury.
The Texans used three different starting tailbacks last season and, with no assurances that Williams will return to his previous form, wanted to add a proven commodity like Green.
"I know Houston is in the early stages of its development and it's been rough in the beginning. But this is an organization that's taking the steps to get to that respectable level in the NFL," Green said before agreeing to the deal with the Texans. "I'm just looking for a situation where I feel comfortable around the players and around the coaches, somewhere I can basically be myself, come down here and just play football and have fun. That's what I'm looking for."
Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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