The Texans expect to activate kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn from a groin injury that prompted the team to place him on injured reserve for the first three games.
Fairbairn and safety A.J. Moore (strained hamstring) returned to practice and were officially designated for return from injured reserve.
“I expect him to," Texans coach David Culley said of Fairbairn's pending return this week heading into a road game against the Buffalo Bills. "We will know more on Wednesday, but this is what we targeted for him getting back.”
Fairbairn was replaced by kicker Joey Slye, who missed an extra point against the Carolina Panthers and a 41-yard field goal against the Cleveland Browns. He’s made 4 of 5 field goals and 7 of 8 extra points.
Signed to a four-year, $17.6 million contract that includes $9 million guaranteed and a $4 million base salary in 2021, the former Lou Groza Award winner from UCLA made 87.1 percent of his field goals last season (27 of 31) and 37 of 40 extra points last season.
In four NFL seasons, Fairbairn has made 104 of 123 field goals (84.6 percent) and 148 of 161 extra points (91.9 percent).
Meanwhile, Texans standout safety Justin Reid's outlook is positive after missing Thursday night's game against the Panthers due to a sprained knee.
Reid posted on social media that he's resumed running and is feeling better.
Culley said that the Texans had some hope that Reid would play against Carolina, but he got worse the day before the game.
"Yeah, he’s headed in the right direction," Culley said. "I know going into that game, we kind of felt like that he was going to have a chance to play. And then right the day before, there was a little setback. But after the game, he was much better. (Sunday) he was much better, also, with the report that we got about him. We’re expecting him hopefully Wednesday to get back and see where he’s at.”
Reid has two interceptions and one forced fumble.
The Texans will evaluate Reid and linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill (knee) again Wednesday. Reid and Grugier-Hill both participated in a walkthrough practice Monday.
Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor is on injured reserve with a Grade 2 strained hamstring.
“Still don’t have a timeline," Culley said. "When it first started it was two to four weeks, from all we know it is still that way.”
Reid is playing some of the best football of his career. The former third-round draft pick from Stanford has three total takeaways for an aggressive Texans defense.
Reid has unfinished business on and off the field. He compartmentalizes any future contract negotiations with the Texans or other NFL teams as he’s scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in 2022 after his four-year, $4.063 million rookie contract expires.
Reid is due a $2.433 million base salary this year, but a blockbuster payday is ahead of him if he continues to manufacture a bounce-back season. Reid leaves the business in the capable hands of veteran NFL agent Joel Segal. So, Reid concentrates and places his full attention on intercepting passes and hard hits.
Should Reid have the kind of season he’s hoping for, the Texans could retain him on a new deal that would likely be expensive or he could cash in as a free agent.
The highest paid safeties in terms of average per year are the Denver Broncos’ Justin Simmons ($15.25 million), the Arizona Cardinals’ Budda Baker ($14.75 million), the Chicago Bears’ Eddie Jackson ($14.6 million), the Tennessee Titans’ Kevin Byard ($14.1 million), the Washington Football Team’s Landon Collins ($14 million), Mathieu ($14 million), the New England Patriots’ Devin McCourty ($11.5 million) and the Browns’ John Johnson ($11.25 million). To join that elite category in terms of pay, Reid knows he can only control what he can control: his performance.
Is it tough to concentrate with so much at stake? For Reid, the answer is very simple: Not at all.
“Honestly, no,” Reid said during training camp. “For me, it's always been very clear. Like I'm focused on this right now. I'm going to compartmentalize everything else and I kind of tackle things as they come. When it comes to football and want to put my best ball on the field, that's always been kind of No. 1 in my head.
“Like everyone around me, I have a great support team around me and they understand how I operate and how important this is to me. They know when I'm locked into this mode I'm locked in and once I step off the field then I have time to go do everything else.”
Aaron Wilson has covered the NFL for 20 seasons, including the Texans, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars. He has previously written for The Houston Chronicle and The Baltimore Sun. He’s on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL and Instagram: @aaronwilson7128.