NFL Notebook: Houston's (too?) full backfield

The Texans have one of the NFL's most productive running backs in Arian Foster and a recovering Ben Tate. Will that lead to Steve Slaton being expendable? Plus, there is plenty of preparation speculation for Terrelle Pryor and the supplemental draft.

He probably won't say so publicly, but one veteran runner who probably would welcome a trade once the lockout ends, sources tell The Sports Xchange, is Houston's fourth-year tailback Steve Slaton.

The former West Virginia star, a third-round choice in the 2008 draft, rushed for a team-best 1,282 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie. But a shoulder injury has plagued him the past two seasons and limited Slaton to 150 rushes and 530 yards. Last year, after losing the starting job to Arian Foster, he logged just 19 carries and 93 yards, and didn't score a touchdown.

Slaton is only 25 years old, doesn't have a lot of tread rubbed off the tires yet, and is a good receiver, so he could be an attractive No. 2 back for some team seeking to bolster the position. Rumors have linked him to St. Louis, where the Rams could use a reliable back capable of getting 6-8 touches per game, to reduce the workload for Steven Jackson, but the talk has been unsubstantiated.

Slaton is under contract for 2011 at the league minimum base salary, then would be eligible for free agency next spring. For the right price, though, he would provide a solid, experienced back for a year. The Texans already have Foster and reports have been good on the recovery of 2010 second-rounder Ben Tate, who missed his entire rookie campaign because of a fractured ankle, so Slaton may be expendable.

Tutoring Pryor: Former Cincinnati quarterback Ken Anderson (1971-86), who retired completely from the game after a three-year stint as a Pittsburgh Steelers' assistant (2007-2009), has gotten a lot of ink this spring as a potential candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But it could be in another role – possibly as the one-on-one coach who prepares former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor for his exposure to the NFL scouts before the supplemental draft – that merits Anderson almost as much attention.

Anderson is one of several candidates under strong consideration, The Sports Xchange has learned, to work with Pryor on the physical side of his game. The possible short-list of personal tutors also includes George Whitfield, the passing-games expert who prepped top overall pick Cam Newton for the combine and the draft.

There are some other names being recommended to agent Drew Rosenhaus, including one who was an offensive coordinator for a team in 2010, and it's expected a decision will come in the next week or so.

As for Anderson's Hall of Fame pursuit, the onetime Bengals star is in his first year of eligibility as a seniors candidate, a status that might actually help his cause. Members of the seniors subcommittee of the selection board will meet in Canton in August to choose the two seniors finalists for the ballot. Anderson is the only man in NFL history to win four league passing titles who is not in the Canton shrine.

More Pryor: Longtime NFL personnel director Ken Herock and Pryor had dinner on Wednesday and then had a long one-on-one session Thursday in which Herock helped to ready Pryor for interviews in advance of the supplemental draft.

In his retirement, Herock has founded a company, ProPrep, which counsels draft prospects on what to expect from the interview process. Herock always declines to comment on players with whom he works, but early indications are that Pryor impressed him with his demeanor and his knowledge of the game.

Pryor continues to work out with a number of other clients represented by agent Drew Rosenhaus, including wide receivers like Chad Ochocinco, Plaxico Burress, Antonio Brown and Donte Stallworth. His Thursday workout is said to have been very impressive, and he demonstrated a surprisingly quick release. Of course, it might not have hurt that Pryor was throwing alongside Pittsburgh quarterback Byron Leftwich. The eight-year veteran is a tremendous guy, a real gentleman, but has always been known for having an elongated delivery.


Viking Update Top Stories

\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":"He probably won't say so publicly, but one veteran runner who probably would welcome a trade once the lockout ends, sources tell The Sports Xchange, is Houston's fourth-year tailback Steve Slaton. The former West Virginia star, a third-round choice in the 2008 draft, rushed for a team-best 1,282 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie. But a shoulder injury has plagued him the past two seasons and limited Slaton to 150 rushes and 530 yards. Last year, after losing the starting job to Arian Foster, he logged just 19 carries and 93 yards, and didn't score a touchdown. Slaton is only 25 years old, doesn't have a lot of tread rubbed off the tires yet, and is a good receiver, so he could be an attractive No. 2 back for some team seeking to bolster the position. Rumors have linked him to St. Louis, where the Rams could use a reliable back capable of getting 6-8 touches per game, to reduce the workload for Steven Jackson, but the talk has been unsubstantiated. Slaton is under contract for 2011 at the league minimum base salary, then would be eligible for free agency next spring. For the right price, though, he would provide a solid, experienced back for a year. The Texans already have Foster and reports have been good on the recovery of 2010 second-rounder Ben Tate, who missed his entire rookie campaign because of a fractured ankle, so Slaton may be expendable. Former Cincinnati quarterback Ken Anderson (1971-86), who retired completely from the game after a three-year stint as a Pittsburgh Steelers' assistant (2007-2009), has gotten a lot of ink this spring as a potential candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But it could be in another role – possibly as the one-on-one coach who prepares former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor for his exposure to the NFL scouts before the supplemental draft – that merits Anderson almost as much attention. Anderson is one of several candidates under strong consideration, The Sports Xchange has learned, to work with Pryor on the physical side of his game. The possible short-list of personal tutors also includes George Whitfield, the passing-games expert who prepped top overall pick Cam Newton for the combine and the draft. There are some other names being recommended to agent Drew Rosenhaus, including one who was an offensive coordinator for a team in 2010, and it's expected a decision will come in the next week or so. As for Anderson's Hall of Fame pursuit, the onetime Bengals star is in his first year of eligibility as a seniors candidate, a status that might actually help his cause. Members of the seniors subcommittee of the selection board will meet in Canton in August to choose the two seniors finalists for the ballot. Anderson is the only man in NFL history to win four league passing titles who is not in the Canton shrine. Longtime NFL personnel director Ken Herock and Pryor had dinner on Wednesday and then had a long one-on-one session Thursday in which Herock helped to ready Pryor for interviews in advance of the supplemental draft. In his retirement, Herock has founded a company, ProPrep, which counsels draft prospects on what to expect from the interview process. Herock always declines to comment on players with whom he works, but early indications are that Pryor impressed him with his demeanor and his knowledge of the game. Pryor continues to work out with a number of other clients represented by agent Drew Rosenhaus, including wide receivers like Chad Ochocinco, Plaxico Burress, Antonio Brown and Donte Stallworth. His Thursday workout is said to have been very impressive, and he demonstrated a surprisingly quick release. Of course, it might not have hurt that Pryor was throwing alongside Pittsburgh quarterback Byron Leftwich. The eight-year veteran is a tremendous guy, a real gentleman, but has always been known for having an elongated delivery. 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