HOUSTON -- The NFL is an ever-changing game. If anyone knows that, it's Mark Ingram.
Already an NFL vet, Ingram exploded onto the scene in his first season with the Baltimore Ravens in 2019. He recorded 1,018 yards along with 10 touchdowns on the way to helping a No. 1 rushing offense in the league.
One year later, he barely saw the field behind rookie J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards. Before the Super Bowl, he was released from his three-year deal and on the market.
On a one-year, $3 million deal, Ingram is hopeful for a rejuvenation to his career. He holds no qualms to the Ravens and now hopes he can show he still is RB1 material.
“It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t ideal for how I wanted that season to go or how I thought my season would go and for me to be able to help my team in the playoffs and just winning," Ingram said on SportsTalk790. "It was tough, but the blessing in disguise was that my body, I feel super healthy. I feel super explosive. I’m springy right now. I feel like I’m going into this off season healthier than I have in the past few offseasons. Just my body feels great."
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Ingram reunites with Culley, who served as the Ravens' associate head coach during his two seasons in Baltimore. Ingram is leader of the locker room and a veteran to the game, and Culley saw a need to bring the 31-year-old runner with him to Houston.
The Texans are hoping to expand the run game in 2021. Last season, Houston finished 31st in rushing, with only David Johnson recording over 500 rushing yards on the season. Ingram finished with just 299 yards in 2020, but he did average a respectable 4.2 yards per play.
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Houston also signed Phillip Lindsay from Denver this offseason as well. Combined, Ingram can see the trio making an impact on the ground.
“I think all three of us do everything really well,” Ingram said. “I think you’ve got guys that can run inside well, run outside well, come out of the backfield, run great routes and catch the ball well and be dangerous with the ball in their hands in space."
Texans general manager Nick Caserio added 50 new players to the roster this offseason. Of all the positions that needed upgrades on offense, running back was maybe the most in need of a tune-up.
Ingram said the Texans reached out to him. Perhaps the feeling was mutual when it came to the signing, as the fit seemed perfect from a coaching standpoint and a leadership one.
Connection is important for any team to function. With a knowledge of the offense at hand, perhaps Ingram not only adds value to the locker room, but as Culley's go-to runner.
"He was very encouraging and a positive influence to me in my two years in Baltimore," Ingram said of the Texans new head coach. "Just to be able to play for him and help him out here in Houston, it was a great opportunity and I’m excited about it.”
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