With Donnie Jones a free agent, your Houston Texans have a decision to make about who should be their starting punter for the 2013 NFL season. Jones is coming off a career season, but the issue may have gotten a bit more interesting as of last night.
Take it away, ESPN Insider Adam Schefter.
The signs are obvious. Shane Lechler is a 36-year-old veteran who is entering the final phase of his career. The NFL's all-time leader in punting average has spent 13 years in Oakland, marred by 10 consecutive years without a playoff appearance. Coming off a four-year, $12 million deal, Lechler would like to spend his final years winning, as opposed to making money while wasting away. As a punter, those final years are nebulous. Lechler's massive leg, which hit 80 yards in 2011, could keep him punting easily into his 40s.
Houston is a contending franchise, and Lechler has many ties to the area. He was born in Sealy, his family participated in athletics at Baylor and Texas A&M, and, most importantly, Lechler and his wife are Aggie alumni. Where else would one want to wind a career down than at home? What could be a better jolt in Lechler's leg than punting at Reliant Stadium as his friends and family watch?
As for his contract, if Lechler truly wants to come home, as Mr. Schefter suggests, he ought to be willing to meet general manager Rick Smith with a hometown and contending team discount. Who knows? It suddenly isn't impossible to believe that the Texans will boast an Aggie Kicking Crew in 2013.