Brown named starting tight end, Harris works with first-team defense

The Texans named veteran tight end Pharaoh Brown as their starter.

He was signed this offseason to a one-year, $3 million fully guaranteed contract, according to a league source.

 The deal includes a $1 million signing bonus, with a $2 million guaranteed salary, $500,000 in per game active roster bonuses, playtime incentive to reach up to $4 million.

Brown caught 23 passes for 171 yards on 39 targets last season.

He has 39 career receptions for 361 yards and two touchdowns.

A former undrafted free agent from Oregon, Brown has outstanding size at 6-foot-6, 258 pounds. He had some issues with penalties last season.

Brown is off to a fast start at training camp, catching several touchdown passes.

“Well just I'm talking about just Pharaoh in general, he's our starting tight end and he's a Y tight end," Texans coach Lovie Smith said. "He can block, big body. You see him make catches every day. We'll have a big role for him.”

Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans

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Christian Harris' speed is a big factor in the promising Texans rookie linebacker's game, and on his ability to make an impact as a rookie.

Signed to a four-year, $5.34 million contract that includes a $1.069 million contract, the third-round draft pick from Alabama has turned heads at training camp with his ability to run and diagnose plays. 

The former blue-chip recruit from Baton Rouge, La. is competing for a starting job after concluding his college career with three sacks, four tackles for losses and a forced fumble in a loss to Georgia in the national championship game.

Harris worked with the first-team defense Tuesday.

"You saw today, we were working Christian Harris with the one group a little bit," Texans coach Lovie Smith said. "So, we'll keep those different combinations going.”

With a 4.44 time in the 40-yard dash, Harris has speed to burn as a versatile sideline-to-sideline defender. The converted safety is off to a fast start with the Texans. 

“I think he probably is the fastest linebacker in the room," Texans veteran linebacker Christian Kirksey said. "This kid can fly. He's smart. He's bright. He's super athletic. When we're in the weight room, I think that he's like in every competition, whether it's the vertical, speed, he's at least top-5. This kid is super talented, young, fresh and he's ready to learn. When you have a guy of that caliber, he’s going to go a long way. He’s going to have a great career in the league.”

Harris, who aced the NFL scouting combine with a 9.05 Relative Athletic score, had 80 tackles last season, 12 1/2 for losses and 5 1/2 sacks. The former freshman All-American and freshman All-Southeastern Conference selection had two forced fumbles and was a semifinalist for the Butkus and Lombardi awards.

"I would say first and foremost he is an elite athlete," Texans linebackers coach Miles Smith said. "Obviously, we all know that. We saw the combine. We saw what he’s able to do. I’ve been most impressed with his ability to grasp the defense and learn the mental aspects of the game. He’s attacked it every day with good work ethic and couldn’t be more impressed.

"We always say the best attribute for a player in our defense is speed. So, just bringing that element, 4.4 speed every down I think is going to show dividends when we get to the season. He’s able to make some plays that others aren’t just because of his raw athletic ability. Now, it’s our job just to teach him the defense and allow him to play fast.”

Aaron Wilson is a Pro Football Network reporter and analyst and a contributor to Sports Talk 790.

NFL Combine

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