Texans' Eno Benjamin, Amari Rodgers active for first time, Howard inactive

Texans running back Eno Benjamin and wide receiver Amari Rodgers are active for the first time since joining the team off waivers. 

Benjamin was previously with the Arizona Cardinals, and Rodgers was previously with the Green Bay Packers.

Texans running back Rex Burkhead is out with a concussion, and wide receiver Brandin Cooks is out with a calf injury.

Cooks is expected to return this season. Burkhead returned to practice Friday, but remained under the NFL concussion protocol.

Texans tight end O.J. Howard is inactive for the first time this season. He was not listed on the injury report. Reserve tight end Brevin Jordan is active after being inactive for recent games.

Texans linebacker Garret Wallow is active after being a healthy scratch last week against the Miami Dolphins.

The Texans' other inactives are cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. (hamstring), offensive tackle Austin Deculus and defensive tackle Thomas Booker.

This is the third consecutive game Stingley has missed.

"It's just a new start," said Benjamin, a Wylie native, upon joining the team. "It's the first time I've ever done such a thing. It feels like my move from Texas to Arizona going to college. I'm just kind of going through it and doing whatever I have to do to be ready.

"Definitely coming closer to home is kind of a dream come true. Honestly, family is a big thing for me. My family can drive down. It makes it a little easier."

With his speed, pass-catching ability and size, Benjamin could provide a capable change of pace at some point behind starter Dameon Pierce, an NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate who has been shouldering a heavy workload.

"I feel like I'm ready," Benjamin said. "If my number is called, I'll do it to the best of my ability. I feel like I'm a guy who can run it inside and outside, run past you and through you as well."

Fumbling issues led to Rodgers' departure from the Packers, and the former third-round draft pick is intent on showing he can hold onto the football and emerge as the kind of impactful player that he was in the Atlantic Coast Conference and at the Senior Bowl all-star game.

"It's amazing," Rodgers said. "That's what I wanted is a fresh start, to come into the building where they don't know anything about me and just show them and prove my worth and earn their trust and earn some playing time."

The 1-9-1 Texans are firmly on pace to earn the top overall pick of the draft, and they also own the top priority on the waiver wire. Texans general manager Nick Caserio has utilized that roster-building edge in recent weeks, claiming Rodgers and Benjamin.

By acquiring Rodgers, the Texans added his four-year, $4.899 million rookie contract that included a $923,561 signing bonus paid by the Packers.

Rodgers (5-foot-9, 215 pounds) has eight career receptions for 95 yards and 11 rushing yards with 626 return yards on special teams.

Rodgers had four catches for 50 yards and no touchdowns on eight targets in 10 games for Green Bay this season before being waived. He also had five fumbled returns in 10 games with two lost, leading to his release after struggling in a game against the Dallas Cowboys.

"Exactly," Rodgers said when asked how much he's working on ball security. "I just want to show who Amari Rodgers is. I feel like I didn't show everybody who Amari Rodgers is in Green Bay, the player that I can be. I feel like now I'm going to be able to do that."

Rodgers was a three-year starter for Clemson and a first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection. At Clemson, he caught 77 passes for 1,020 yards and seven touchdowns in his final college season.

"Just versatility as a returner, being a punt returner who can block on offense and versatility as a slot or outside receiver," Rodgers said. "You can put me in the backfield. Just being that Swiss Army knife. I played with a lot of professionals in Green Bay. I took in a lot as far as reading coverages. There's a lot I took with me from Green Bay."

Aaron Wilson is a contributor to Sports Talk 790.

Houston Texans v Miami Dolphins

Photo: Getty Images North America

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