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Contract Brings Out Best From Texans Returner Tremon Smith

Tremon Smith is making his mark on kickoff returns

HOUSTON -- For the first time in his NFL career, cornerback Tremon Smith feels at home. The role he plays for the Houston Texans goes beyond his position on defense. 

The 25 year old has impressed as Houston's kickoff returner. Following brief stints with the the Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts and Kansas City Chiefs, Smith has found stability. No more practice squads and life on the waiver wire. 

All that changed when Texans general manager Nick Caserio offered him a contract extension late last month, keeping Smith in Houston through the 2022 season at the tune of $1.6 million. 

"I have been working on my whole career just to get an extension," Smith said. "You know these past three years I’ve been on three different teams so to be somewhere back to back in two years is a good feeling and brought out confidence in me.”

Smith took over kick return duties following the release of Pro Bowl specialist Andre Roberts. Smith has flourished, averaging 25.5 yards per kick return on eight attempts. 

Smith doesn't have enough returns to qualify for league leaders, but based on just average, Smith only trails New York Jets' Braxton Berrios and Dallas Cowboys' Tony Pollard. 

"We got a group of 10 people out there, me being 11, willing to block and go all out that way to give me a crease," Smith said. "I was telling them the other night, ‘I trust in y’all a lot and if you give me a crease, I am going to hit it full speed. I am back here going full speed for y’all guys.”

The Texans (2-10) are starving for a win, and have a solid chance Sunday at home against Seattle. The Seahawks (4-8) are coming off a win over the San Francisco 49ers, but have been inconsistent offensively. 

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Smith thinks the key to winning is eliminating big plays from Pro Bowl wideout DK Metcalf. The third-year wideout is currently averaging 13.7 yards per catch and has eight touchdowns.

"It’s all going to boil down to technique," Smith said. "So, we just have to make sure our technique is right, and we’ll be fine. We can handle those guys pretty good.”

Smith is looking at both the short- and long-term goals in Houston. He can breathe knowing for now he'll remain on the roster for another season. 

It's a new feeling. Outside of spending an extra month in 2019 on the Chiefs' roster, he's never remained with the team longer than a season. 

A $1.6 million cap hit is of little risk for Caserio should Smith digress. The first-year GM still can address special team needs this offseason via free agency and the draft. 

The message Caserio is sending to players is that quality play will be rewarded. Smith is working to be a foundational piece for the future of the organization. 

"I am coming in with the same group of guys, whether it is a new group of guys I am coming in with the same coaching staff," Smith said. "That feels good.

"I’m just really looking forward going into the same scheme and realizing that I was here last year, too.”