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When Will D’Onta Foreman Return To The 53-Man Roster?

Should the Houston Texans activate the running back or put him back on the shelf?

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Running back D’Onta Foreman ended his collegiate career at the University of Texas with a 2,028 yard season, arguably operating as the only real weapon in the Longhorns offense in 2016. When he was still on the board for the Houston Texans to pick in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, it seemed almost too good to be true.

For Foreman and many others, the Houston native was living the dream, playing for his hometown team and presented with the opportunity to be a key component in an offense run by one of the most electric quarterbacks in H-Town history, Deshaun Watson.

While Foreman got off to a slow start, his size and shiftiness served him well, as he gobbled up 4.2 yards per play in his rookie season. He really seemed to be the perfect compliment to the Lamar Miller / Alfred Blue running back room - a big back who didn’t shy away from contact yet had the uncanny ability to make tacklers miss.

While 4.1 yards per carry isn’t Hall of Fame quality, doing so behind the worst offensive line in the NFL as a rookie was pretty impressive.

Unfortunately, D’Onta Foreman tore his Achilles last November. Anyone who has ever paid attention to the Houston Texans’ running game is all too familiar with this injury after what happened to Arian Foster.

A few weeks ago, the Texans brought Foreman back to practice and have until December 6th to activate him to the 53-man roster. Foreman says he’s ready to play again.

“I feel good, I feel great,” Foreman said Wednesday, via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “I’m ready to go. I’ve been practicing. I feel very explosive. I’m cutting really good. I feel ready to go.”

But head coach Bill O’Brien disagrees, most likely due to input from the team’s medical staff.

[He’s not] “all the way back”

With Lamar Miler lighting the world on fire, Deshaun Watson more than eager to take all the yards the defense will let him and Alfred Blue still happily pounding the A-Gap for 3.4 yards a carry (just enough to be considered a positive run), the Texans do have the luxury of being patient with Foreman.

Still, the clock is ticking. December 6th is just a week away.

If Houston does activate Foreman, someone will have to exit the 53-man roster to make room. With the injury bug ready to bite at any moment, it’s easy to understand the hesitancy of Texans’ leadership in this situation. An Achilles tear is a huge deal. Bringing Foreman back too soon could jeopardize or end his career, and removing a contributing player from the current roster to roll those dice could be a fool’s errand. Yet if Foreman really is good to go, having his fresh legs for December and January might help make the difference between a deep playoff run and an early exit.

What do you think? Should Houston put Foreman back on the shelf until 2019 or should they throw him at the A-Gap on December 9th when Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts come to town to challenge Houston for the AFC South crown?