Texans Release Slaton, Promote Ogbonnaya
In what seemed like an inevitability in the preseason, the Texans finally cut running back Steve Slaton from the roster. Slaton was occupying the fourth running back position for much of the preseason behind starter Arian Foster, Derrick Ward and second year player Ben Tate. He was even soundly beaten out for that spot by free agent Chris Ogbonnaya, but lingering injuries to both Foster and Ward moved Slaton up the depth chart and even got him playing time, the most significant of which came last week against New Orleans when he ran only four times for eight yards.
Despite rushing for over 1,000 yards and gaining over 1,600 yards from scrimmage in 2008, his rookie season, Slaton was sent packing mainly due to his inability to return to the form of his rookie year after surgery he had on his neck.
In his place, the team called up Ogbonnaya from the practice squad. Ogbonnaya, who played high school ball at Strake Jesuit, was drafted by St. Louis in 2009 out of the University of Texas. He spent most of his time on the Rams practice squad.
Ogbonnaya had an excellent preseason leading the team in rushing, but fell down the depth chart behind veterans Foster and Ward as well as Tate, who began showing signs of rebounding from his first season, which he spent on injured reserve.
The move is a clear sign to Texans fans that Foster will indeed be back from the hamstring injury that has limited his playing time and kept him out of the last game against the Saints. It is also a fairly good indicator that, in addition to their belief in Tate, the Texans think Ward is close to returning from a high ankle sprain.
Unfortunately for Slaton, he just couldn't return to the playing level of his rookie season and now will be looking for work, though he'll still make his $1.2 million salary since he was cut after the first game of the season.