Sharpton returns; Daniels sits
Wednesday was just like any other day of practice for most of the Texans.
Not for Darryl Sharpton.
For the third-year linebacker out of Miami, Wednesday was a day he’d been looking forward to since a quad injury ended his 2011 season and a subsequent hip injury landed him on the Physically Unable to Perform list to start 2012.
“I remember just driving to the stadium today,” Sharpton said after practice. “I felt like a little kid on the first day of school. I was nervous, but it felt really good. I can’t even explain it.”
Sharpton participated with the scout team and did some special teams drills on Wednesday. The Texans are taking a wait-and-see approach with Sharpton.
“I went out there today. Obviously, it was the first time getting back out there so I had my doubts, was a little hesitant,” he said. “Had butterflies in my stomach, was excited. Had all different kind of emotions but after running around, after the adrenaline flowed through my blood, I felt like my old self.”
The Texans have three weeks to decide what to do with Sharpton. They can either activate him to the 53-man roster, in which case they’d need to create a roster spot for him. The other option is to put him on the Injured Reserve, which would end his season.
Early indications are that they’ll do the former. Sharpton said if give the choice, he’d be back on the field as soon as possible. And the Texans would probably love to have him. They’ve had trouble keeping linebacker healthy, most notably Brian Cushing, who is out for the rest of the season.
“We’ll go back and look at it,” head coach Gary Kubiak said. “If we put our pads on tomorrow it will be good to see him bounce around a bit.”
Sharpton said he isn’t sure if he’ll be activated for this Sunday’s game and the coaching staff hasn’t offered a plan to activate him yet.
But if it were up to him …
“I felt great,” he said. “If it was up to me, I would go out there. I’ll leave it up to the coach and trainers to make the best decision for the team.”
“It was good. It was fun to watch him today," fellow linebacker Brooks Reed said. "He told me after practice he was nervous like he was in a game. He’s trying to get back into shape so I’m excited to have him back.”
These past eight weeks have been pretty tough for the 24-year-old linebacker. Coming into training camp, he thought he had healed enough from blowing out his quad on Oct. 30 against the Jaguars.
While in training camp, Sharpton’s quad wasn’t 100 percent but he was healthy enough to play. The problem came when he “overcompensated” with his other leg and strained his hip. That landed him on the PUP and has kept him out until now.
The initial quad injury was the worst injury of Sharpton’s career. What made it tougher was that he was playing at a high level and the injury ended his season in a split second.
“Usually if I get injured, if I sprain my ankle or have something wrong with my shoulder,” he said, “I brace it up and tape it up but this injury is something I couldn’t fight through and that was kind of tough on me. Literally not even be able to push through the pain, just be on the sideline.”
Sharpton still remembers the play on which he hurt his quad. It was against Jacksonville on Oct. 30. The Texans won that game but they lost Sharpton for the rest of the season.
“I try to forget the play,” Sharpton said. But he hasn’t.
He still remembers it was a zone. He still remembers taking on an offensive lineman and getting his foot stuck in the ground. He still remembers it was Battle Red Day.
Sharpton’s done his best to forget that day as much as possible but it hasn’t happened. He still thought about it because it was the last time he was on the field with his teammates.
“I’m sure for everyone else, it was just a regular Wednesday,” Sharpton said. “For me, it was a huge, huge day. It was bigger than the presidential election for me.”