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First pick signs contract with Texans
By JOEL ANDERSON, AP Sports Writer
Jul 24, 2004 - 5:24:00 PM
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HOUSTON (AP) -- Dunta Robinson tried to keep his head from spinning as he thumbed through the Houston Texans' nearly four-inch thick defensive playbook.
And, much to the rookie cornerback's dismay, the playbook gets bigger with each passing day.
``It's so big and they throw so much at you,'' Robinson said Saturday, minutes after signing a six-year deal worth about $10.7 million with the Texans. ``The playbook is overwhelming. By the end of the day, you can barely close it.''
Robinson, the 10th overall pick in the NFL draft, is the highest selection of any team to agree to terms this offseason. His contract includes signing bonuses of $8 million and is voidable after five years if Robinson reaches certain incentives.
The Texans have now signed both top first-round picks, the other being outside linebacker Jason Babin, who was taken 27th overall. Houston will be one of the NFL's few teams to have its first-rounders in the fold once training camp starts next week -- Tampa Bay receiver Michael Clayton and New England defensive tackle Vince Wilfork were the only others to have agreed to terms.
The Texans' rush to complete those deals was in part because of the daunting task of grasping their complicated defensive schemes. Much is expected of Robinson and Babin.
``I'd hate to be in Dunta's position if he hadn't signed yet,'' said Jason Chayut, Robinson's agent. ``That would a tough position for him to be in. These contract talks have been going on longer than you really want to know. We were just trying to get these things wrapped us as soon as possible.''
Robinson and Babin both enter training camp as starters in an effort to improve a defense that ranked 31st out of 32 teams in 2003, including a pass defense that was the NFL's worst.
The 5-foot-10, 174-pound Robinson was considered one of the top defensive backs in the draft coming out of South Carolina, where he tallied 50 tackles and one interception last season.
Robinson will likely start at right cornerback opposite veteran Aaron Glenn, and the coaches have moved last season's starter at the position, Marcus Coleman, to free safety. The Texans expect -- and need -- an immediate contribution from Robinson, who will almost certainly be the target of offenses looking to pick on the smallish rookie.
``We feel good about where Dunta will be,'' Texans coach Dom Capers said. ``We realize there's going to be bumps in the road, but Dunta has the athletic ability and the attitude to play that position.''
Robinson spent much of the minicamps shadowing Glenn, a three-time Pro Bowler and 11-year veteran, to pepper him with questions about the playbook. The Texans can only hope Robinson is as lucky keeping up with opposing receivers as he was with Glenn.
``I would say Aaron probably gets tired of me because I'm always asking him questions,'' Robinson said. ``Sometimes I see Aaron doing something and I'm like, 'How did he do that?' But he's been real helpful to me. He knows that I've got a lot to learn and I've got a short time to learn it.''
The Texans also were close to an agreement with sixth-round draft choice Charlie Anderson, a linebacker. Anderson, safety Glenn Earl and cornerback Vontez Duff are the only other draftees who remained unsigned.
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