The versatility of Texans kickoff returner and cornerback Tremon Smith was on full display during a toss sweep Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Smith lined up at running back, dashing outside to break off a seven-yard run during a 41-29 upset victory at NRG Stadium.
It wasn't a surprise to see Smith's athleticism considering that he bolted 98 yards for a touchdown on a kickoff return two games ago against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Smith had lobbied offensive coordinator Tim Kelly for a shot on offense. When Smith scored against the Jaguars, Kelly told him it was time to have a serious talk about getting him involved.
"It started off as a little bit of a joke in terms of like, ‘Yeah, if you score, we’ll have a conversation,'" Kelly said. "The more you watch him with the ball in his hand, he’s got unique ability to run with the football. He’s fast, he’s got good vision, he’s a strong runner. It would only make sense to try to put him in a position to where he can come out and help us on offense, and he did a good job in his one carry.
"So, yeah, that was kind of the deal. I went up to him in Jacksonville after he returned it and I’m like, ‘I think it’s time to have that conversation right now.’ But he did a good job and he was more than willing, and I’m glad it turned out well for us.”
Smith went to the state semifinals at Saks High School while playing quarterback, safety and returning kickoffs and punts. He was an all-state selection.
“Check out Tremon’s high school highlight tape back in his Alabama quarterback days," Texans special teams coordinator Frank Ross said. "He’s a triple threat. It was exciting to see him, and he juiced that corner there. I wish he would’ve turned it all the way into six, but it was a nice run there.”
Ross is accustomed to being asked by players who want to get involved. Even 300-pound offensive linemen.
“Justin McCray, who is an offensive lineman and a guard, he just walks up to me and goes, ‘Coach, I got you. I can return the ball,'" Ross said. "It happens on a daily basis. I just try to remind guys to stay in their lane with stuff like that. When you do try and accentuate everybody’s attributes like Tremon and when he’s asking for certain things, or at some point like Desmond King asking to play on kickoff and ends up with multiple tackles. Trying to accommodate as much as you can, but, at the same time, doing what’s best for the team.”