The Houston Texans landed one of the league’s best punters in Shane Lechler. While it’s not exactly a homerun, adding the veteran punter is a move that will help the Texans win the field position battle throughout 2013.
The best part of the whole deal: Lechler couldn’t be happier to be in Houston.
“Words can’t describe this,” Lechler said in an introductory press conference. “Getting to come home and play football, man, this is a dream come true. I was fortunate enough to play in the Silver and Black for 13 years and had a great time doing it. I always followed the Texans since they brought the franchise here. It’s just something that I’ve been looking forward to for a while.”
The Texans tried to acquire Lechler via free agency back in 2009, but the Oakland Raiders made him an offer that he couldn’t refuse. Al Davis made him the richest punter in league history with a four-year, $16-million deal, but the new ownership wasn’t so willing to drop big money to retain Lechler considering their horrid financial situation. The door was wide open for the Texans to swoop in.
“When I hit free agency this year, I knew there was one place that I had in mind, and that was here,” Lechler continued. “Luckily, it worked out; the situation has worked out. Everything fell into place.”
With age becoming a factor and some recent injury issues, Lechler landed with the Texans at a much cheaper price than the Raiders got him for four years ago. The deal is reportedly worth $5.5 million over three years, with $1 million guaranteed. Considering that Lechler was so eager to join the Texans, money didn’t appear to be the biggest factor.
Coming off of meniscus surgery, Lechler will have to prove that he’s back to form in 2013. Even with the lingering issues, though, he won’t have much trouble out-punting Donnie Jones, the Texans starter in 2012 who averaged 47.2 yards per punt last season.
Lechler will team with second-year kicker Randy Bullock to form an all-Texas A&M kicking tandem. Bullock missed his rookie year due to a groin injury, but is expected to win the starting gig without too much trouble in 2013.
The seven-time Pro Bowler appears ecstatic about his return to Texas. The Texans should be excited about what he can do with his leg and the difference he can make in the battle of field position.
It’s a match made in football heaven.