Texans trade Morency to Packers for Gado

Thursday, September 14th 2006, 6:26 am
By: News On 6

HOUSTON (AP) The Houston Texans acquired running back Samkon Gado from the Green Bay Packers in exchange for Vernand Morency on Wednesday.

The trade is pending both players passing physicals with their new team.

The Texans have been looking for reinforcements at running back since Domanick Davis, the franchise's leading rusher, was placed on the injured reserve two weeks ago. Houston claimed 1999 Heisman Trophy Winner Ron Dayne off waivers after he was released by Denver last week.

Coach Gary Kubiak said he made the trade for Gado because he wanted to add a big, power runner to his duo of smallish running backs, rookies Wali Lundy and Chris Taylor.

Taylor, who has been on the active roster, is currently on the practice squad.

``We feel like it gives us two big, banging-type backs and we've got two younger smaller backs in Wali and Chris,'' Kubiak said. ``We like the way that evens out and we hope he can help us.''

Houston's running game struggled in a 24-10 opening loss to Philadelphia where the running backs gained just 55 yards. Morency had five carries for 13 yards.

Gado, in his 2nd season, was one of the few bright spots in the Packers' 4-12 season last year, advancing from the practice squad to become the team's starting running back near the end of the season. But Gado has struggled to adjust to the zone-blocking scheme being run by new Packers coach Mike McCarthy, interesting to note since Kubiak employs a similar scheme.

Season-ending injuries to running backs Ahman Green and Najeh Davenport gave Gado, who started just 2 games in 4 seasons at Division I-AA Liberty University, an improbable chance to start for the Packers last year.

In 8 games, including 5 starts, he gained 582 yards on 143 carries and scored 6 touchdowns.

Kubiak said Gado would be valuable in short-yardage situations, but Texans general manager Rick Smith said he thinks he could do even more.

``I think he's already proven that he can be an every-down back,'' Smith said. ``He's a kid that is a power type of back with good speed and balance and agility. So to put him in this offense will be an asset for us.''

Morency was a 3rd round pick in 2005 after running for 1,454 yards and 12 touchdowns in his last season at Oklahoma State. He's a bit older than most 2nd year players at age 26, having played 4 seasons of minor league baseball before enrolling at Oklahoma State.

He had 46 carries for 184 yards with 2 touchdowns in 13 games last season.

Kubiak wasn't too fond of his running style when he arrived in Houston and encouraged him to cut to the hole quicker instead of ``dancing'' in the backfield. He noted Morency's improvement in that area and praised him after he ran for 95 yards and 2 scores in a preseason win over St. Louis.

With the trade, Gado will be reunited with former Packers coach Mike Sherman, who was hired as an assistant head coach and offensive line coach for the Texans after he was fired by the Packers.

``We've got coaches on our staff who know this player very well,'' Kubiak said. ``We feel good about this kid's chances of helping us.''

Gado also brought an infectious sense of optimism into an otherwise downtrodden locker room. Gado, who worked at a Green Bay hospital in the offseason, hopes to become a doctor after his football career is over and return to his native Nigeria to help fight the AIDS crisis in Africa.

Gado was in the middle of an interview session in the Packers locker room on Wednesday when running backs coach Edgar Bennett summoned him to a private meeting.

Gado had just been asked whether the Packers could recover from a 26-0 defeat by the Chicago Bears in their season opener at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

``The season's not over yet,'' Gado said. ``It's just beginning. And we got off on the wrong foot, and I think it's just foolhardy to just go ahead and throw the whole season out.''

Gado should arrive in Houston early Thursday and is expected to available for Sunday's game at Indianapolis.

Morency was informed of the trade about 10 minutes before Houston's afternoon practice, Kubiak said.