Pharaoh Brown accelerated over the middle, cutting across the Texans’ defense to create an opening in the back of the end zone.
The veteran tight end caught a red zone touchdown pass from quarterback Tyrod Taylor, one of a handful of scores from Brown since being activated from the non-football injury list last week after testing positive for COVID-19 in July.
Although still dealing with symptoms from COVID and effects from being vaccinated, Brown hasn’t let that slow him down on the practice field at training camp.
"I feel like I'm playing pretty good,” Brown said. “I still don't have my wind back. I had COVID in July and then I had some more reactions to the vaccine. I've been having a cough or headaches. I still don't got my wind back. I think once I can get through that, I'll be feeling much better.”
Brown said he dealt with chills and experienced “pretty bad symptoms” when he got COVID.
“I went through bad symptoms when I had the vaccine,” Brown said. “They’re still lasting.”
Brown put getting COVID and deciding to get vaccinated into perspective.
“I figure we all going to die one day, so it was just kind of how you want to go out," Brown said. "People smoke and drink and we know the long-term events on that. That's going to kill you down the road. We don't know about the vaccine, but I figure I'm going to travel. So, if I'm going to die, at least I'm going to die traveling. So, that's why I got it.”
At 6-foot-6, 258 pounds, the former Oregon standout is reinforcing his value to the Texans as an imposing tight end who can catch passes, break tackles and block.
The former Las Vegas Raiders and Cleveland Browns player has excellent size and all-around skills for the position. In 13 games with nine starts, Brown caught 14 passes on 16 targets for 163 yards and two touchdowns last season.
“That's my dog," Texans tight end Jordan Akins said. "We just kind of work together and do our thing. Great guy, great personality. We learn from each other on and off the field. Personally, Pharaoh is a goofy guy, man. He’s very funny, nonchalant, laid back, great guy, really chill.”
Brown is the Texans’ biggest and most versatile tight end.
“I do everything,” Brown said. “I play football. Whatever they ask me to do, I’m going to do. That’s just me: catching, running, fullback, quarterback. You know, I do it all.”
Between Brown and Akins, the Texans have two different styles at the tight end position. Brown is a bigger, more physical athlete. Akins is capable of lining up as a traditional in-line tight end or creating difficult matchups lined up as an outside receiver.
“Whether it's blocking and catching. we compete and we bring different things," Akins said. "We get mismatches. Whether he has a mismatch or I have a mismatch, we go up and make plays.”
Texans coach David Culley said Monday that Brown is not fully recovered from symptoms, but was complimentary of his performance.
“Well, it's good to have him back," Culley said previously of Brown. "Obviously, size does matter, and getting him back and getting him in the swing of things. He's starting to get more and more and more reps right now with us, and he's one of those guys that we're counting on at that position to be able to help us.”
Brown said he opted to re-sign with the Texans because of the comfort level he built with the organization last year.
"I was more playing politics my first two years and I was behind guys that was getting $10 million plus each year," Browns aid. "So nothing I would do, I wasn't getting an opportunity to play on the field initially because the Texans didn't have a guy at my position that was getting that. I knew I would be able to get my fair shot and I bet on myself and I was right. I'm finally getting my opportunity.
"I was comfortable last year. It’s not more of my comfort, it’s more of the coaches' comfort. Last year, it was just a guy off the street, they didn't know me. So, I think they have become more comfortable with me.”
Aaron Wilson has covered the NFL for 20 years and has previously written for The Houston Chronicle and The Baltimore Sun. He’s on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL and Instagram: @aaronwilson7128