In Mark Ingram, the Houston Texans didn't acquire merely your prototypical running back. The 11th-year veteran also brings with him a presence and energy that has already left a huge mark on his teammates.
"Your presence on this football team and what you mean is very important," head coach David Culley said to Ingram during their 37-21 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. "It ain't just about yards, it's about having you here."
Responded Ingram, "I love you, coach."
The love affair is reciprocal, echoed after Wednesday's practice by receiver Brandin Cooks.
"I love Mark," Cooks said. "We played together for three years in New Orleans, and he has that same energy. He’s going to bring it every single day. I mean, the guy is just a dog. Playing in this league for that long and as a running back and still being able to get those yards after contact, he’s a special player. But at the same time, he brings a lot of energy to this offense and to this locker room."
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Then there's quarterback Tyrod Taylor who described Ingram's energy as "one of a kind" before he hopping aboard the love train.
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"I love him as a player, and I love his energy and his passion, and it shows each and every day," Taylor said.
Ingram's Texans debut went according to plan. The 31-year-old finished as Houston's leading rusher with 85 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries.
On a team that has gone through trauma on and off the field the last year - and will likely continue to go through - having a leader with the presence and drive of Ingram's to glue this mismatched group of veterans together could prove invaluable.
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