There’s a weird phenomenon that occurs for every sports fan. You’re going about your day, doing whatever work your profession may entail. Then out of the blue, something pops into your head. Not something, someone. You then think, “Huh, I wonder what ever happened to that guy?” You might remember a play or two that comes to mind for that specific athlete. Then as quickly as it came, the thought is gone. Business continues as usual.
That same situation recently happened to me. However, instead of just pushing it away, I thought that maybe some of these auxiliary players deserve a little love. Plus, now that NFL Game Pass is free (only for a limited time; sign up here if you haven’t yet), I can catch up on some old players and games you all might have experienced before my time.
My first target in this endeavor will be Kevin Walter. Yes, the “High Character” Bill O’Brien guy that Bill O’Brien never had the chance to coach. Many of us remember K-Dub as a background character. He played his career in the shadow of the GOAT, Andre Johnson. Even so, there’s no denying Walter contributed.
Over seven years of playing for the Houston Texans, Walter managed to amass 4,083 yards and 24 touchdowns. From 2007-2012, he also managed to average over 10 yards per reception each season. Walter managed to step up and create some big time plays, which I’ll cover here through some clips.
In the clip below, a post-Rosencopter Sage Rosenfels is stepping in for an injured Matt Schaub in a 2008 Week 11 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts. It’s 1st and 10 at the 28-yard line. Rosenfels runs a play action fake and finds Walter for a 61-yard bomb.
The Texans eventually lost this game 27-33, but did you see Walter manage to break a couple of ankles?
Here we find the Texans taking on the Green Bay Packers the month after the Colts loss. The weather is a whole three degrees Fahrenheit. Matt Schaub is back on the throne and looking to score. It’s 1st and 10 at the 42-yard line. Schaub throws under pressure and Walter does a great job of adjusting to the ball. This results in a 58-yard touchdown.
Walter also happened to benefit from the defenders taking themselves out of the equation. The Texans go on to win this one 24-21.
Flashing forward to 2012, when the Texans are taking on the Denver Broncos in Week 3. Coincidentally, this is also Walter’s last year with the Texans. What’s the old fox got in store for us this time? Well, it’s 2nd and 5 at the 48-yard line. Gary Kubiak calls play action, protection is solid, and Schaub decides to launch one deep.
Walter manages to bump enough separation from his defender to haul in the 52-yard touchdown. Those were some good times. The team wrapped up the season with a record of 12-4. I remember there being talk of the team possibly being contenders. Then the Letterman Jacket Incident happened.
Now, of course, we have to talk about Walter’s key contribution to the history of this franchise.
It’s Week 14 and the Texans are up against the Cincinnati Bengals. The 2011 season had been good to us, with the exception of losing Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart to season-ending injury, of course. Bengal-Tamer T.J. Yates is about to start his legend. A win here would clinch the first berth in the NFL Playoffs in franchise history.
It’s 2nd and goal from the 6-yard line. T.J Yates lines up with an empty backfield. Kevin Walter sits on the far right. The ball is snapped. Walter runs underneath as the coverage bites on Owen Daniels curling in the end zone.
Boom. The rest is literal history. The Texans would go on to run it back against the Bengals in the Wild Card Round of the 2012 NFL Playoffs before falling to the Baltimore Ravens in what would be the first of many Divisional Round exits.
Was Kevin Walter a seven-time Pro Bowler and consensus franchise great? No. That’s Andre Johnson. Was he a good role player and contributor to the team for a couple years? Sure. It's fun to take a trip down memory lane with some of these guys that fell by the wayside. It’s like seeing an old friend that you lost touch with. You remember a few things, laugh, and then go on about your day.
Now go out there and enjoy the rest of yours.