The NFL is about taking advantage of your opportunities and Travis Labhart is making the most of his. Buried in the depth chart, the wide receiver got his chance when starting slot receiver Mike Thomas went out with a head injury that held him out against the Atlanta Falcons.
Labhart has only been on the field for 33 offensive snaps and has had five receptions for 58 yards. But most importantly, all five of those catches have
gone for first downs. Throw in a two point conversion reception that gave the Texans an 18-17 edge over the Denver Broncos, Labhart is making his name
Even Bill O'Brien noticed his rookie wide receiver, "On that two point play, we put him in a position where the original play call we were going to have
him in a different spot and at the last second we kind of changed him to where he ended up catching the pass and he had to think quick there and get lined
up and know what to do and that’s the type of kid he is."
His work ethic is evident and even after a two hour practice in the Texas heat, Labhart finds time to end his on-field work with extra passes from the jugs
machine. The low man on the totem pole means he has to wait his turn behind the likes of Andre Johnson and the rest of the veterans, but his hard work is
pushing him into the conversation for a bigger role for the Texans. "He's earned himself playing time and it’s been fun to watch him improve every week.”
Each week, Labhart has pushed his name into the slot wide receiver discussion and even with limited work it looks like he could be ready for more. Learning
what it takes to be a professional has been key for Labhart and he is defying the odds as the preseason carries on.
He came to Houston as a long shot but he is changing the impression of what he can do heading into the fourth preseason game.
O'Brien praised his rookie wide receiver, “He’s a young guy that’s come in here and learned the system well. He’s instinctive, he’s got good hands. He’s
tough, a smart player, works hard—works really hard at it."
All that was needed was an opportunity and Labhart has created those opportunities to move from the long shot to the reality of making it in the NFL.