Texans rookie offensive guard Kenyon Green, a first-round draft pick from Texas A&M, returned to practice from a concussion that had sidelined the former Atascosita High School standout for the past two weeks.
Already declared a starter by Texans coach Lovie Smith, Green worked alongside Pro Bowl left offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil during full-team drills. Green is regarded as a top candidate to start the first game of the regular season.
The Texans want to get Green some preseason work, but the timetable for a Friday night preseason road game against the Los Angeles Rams might be a bit soon. Green missed time this offseason due to surgery to repair a lateral collateral ligament, but the knee has improved significantly and he wears a brace for protective reasons.
“Kenyon Green was able to get back into full-speed work,” Smith said. “Eventually we’ll get him out there. The biggest thing was to get him back into the mix. He missed a couple of weeks, so we’ll gradually get him back into the full-time mix, but no issues, right on track. We’ll see how it goes.”
Green sustained the concussion despite wearing the new league-mandated helmet covers designed to lower the chances of suffering a head injury.
“I mean, it’s not 100 percent wearing those covers,” Smith said. “Of course, you lessen the odds of getting a concussion, but nothing is 100 percent in football. It wasn’t a big blow or anything like that.
“The game of football, there’s no way we can eliminate concussions in our game, but you stay out, and eventually you get back clear. We’ve really taken our time with him. We make sure a guy is really ready to go, where there are no symptoms before we put him on the football field, and that’s how we took it with him.”
Green was signed to a four-year, fully guaranteed $15.9 million contract that includes a fifth-year club option. A former consensus All-American and All-Southeastern Conference selection, Green is a former Houston Touchdown Club Offensive Player of the Year.
“The rook is doing pretty good,” Texans right tackle Tytus Howard said during training camp “I think Kenyon is doing a pretty good job of when he was not in the ones, watching what he needs to be able to do to keep up with the ones.”
Green (6-foot-4, 323 pounds) is a former blue-chip recruit who started two games at right tackle, one at left tackle, two at right guard, and seven at left guard last season for the Aggies.
“My blood, sweat, and tears have been here 21 years almost,” Green said after being drafted. “I mean, it’s really nothing else to say. I’m here. I’m ready to go, so, you know, whatever that takes, whatever we need to do to do that, I’m willing and ready.”
A former All-SEC Freshman selection at right guard, Green moved to left guard in 2020 and started every game. He was named a second-team All-American and second-team all-SEC selection.
Green was a finalist for the Lombardi Award last season.
“He’s been a really productive, consistent player,” Texans general manager Nick Caserio said. “He played tackle. He played guard. I would say he is probably a better guard than he is a tackle. I think he is probably more of an inside player, but we’ll put him in the mix. Local kid, so I’m sure all of the Texans, fellow Texans, will be happy about that. He’s a real solid kid.
“I would say blue-collar, humble, soft-spoken, lunch pail. Shows up; doesn’t say much. Just kind of works his ass off and wants to play football. That fits the profile of what we want from the players that walk in this building.”
Smith was asked why he didn’t disclose the concussion previously. He has been reticent about discussing injuries throughout camp, providing some updates. The Texans aren’t required to file an injury report until the regular season.
“I can’t remember what I said then because it’s a little later in the game,” Smith said. “We’re not trying to keep anything away from you. When he initially did, I didn’t talk about any of the things. Now it’s a little bit closer and he’s back.
“I’m not going to keep anything from you, but when a player has an injury back then in training camp, I didn’t go into detail on any of the injuries then. Now they’re a little bit closer, I’m going into detail a little bit more. That’s how we’re going to handle it throughout. If I don’t say anything, I’m not trying to keep anything away from you, I just didn’t really even think about it.”
Aaron Wilson is a Pro Football Network reporter and a contributor to KPRC-2 and Click2Houston.com