Ben Tate is back.
A sentence that everyone has been waiting to hear. Ben Tate practiced for the first time from start to finish with his teammates on Wednesday since sustaining a hamstring injury against the Ravens on Oct. 21.
"It actually felt good to walk out with the team at practice and come back with the team the end of practice," Tate said Wednesday. "It feels good to be back out there with those guys."
Tate has missed the Texans last four games, but if you throw in the bye week, Tate has actually been on the shelf for over five weeks.
"I've been chomping at the bit for at least the last two weeks," Tate said. "I'm excited now to contribute anyway I can."
Tate might be asked to live up to his words. Tate practiced with the special teams unit Wednesday and might find himself getting snaps in that capacity before finding himself in the Texans' backfield.
"Ben practiced today and took a lot of reps," Gary Kubiak said. "He practiced with special teams and we're trying to get Ben back going and have a good week of work and decided where we are at the end of the week. All expectations are for him to be available at the end of the week."
Tate knows that anyway he can get on the field is a good sign at this point.
"It was a little weird, but none the less I was over there ready to work," Tate said of working with the special teams units. "I just want to get on the field man, I'm not even tripping at all, I really don't care, I just want to get on the field."
Tate's replacement, Justin Forsett, has been more than filling in for Tate. Forsett is averaging 6.7 yards per carry and has three runs over 20-yards this season. His game changing touchdown against the Lions, although he was down, is the longest run in franchise history. Forsett has been giving the coaching staff a reason to continue to give him carries even when Tate returns full-time as Arian Foster's backup just around the corner.
"Anytime you've missed as much as Ben has missed you're a little rusty," Rick Dennison said. "Obviously we like what Justin does and it's hard to not give the ball to Arian. But it's a good problem to have and one that usually works its way out."
Tate has 43 carries for 178 yards and one touchdown this season. Tate has one run over 20 yards this season, after leading all running backs last season in runs over 20 yards last year.
When asked if he was ready for that first hit Sunday and if it would make him feel like he was finally back, Tate said, "I don't ever look at myself taking a hit, I hope they're ready for the first hit. I'm not going to get it, I'm going to hit them first."
Ben Tate is back.