Dedication pays off for Cierre Wood

HOUSTON -- The first time I spoke to Cierre Wood, he expressed something close to desperation about making it onto the Texans' roster.

"I'm starving, I'm hungry for it," Wood said at the time. "I feel as if I never had anything and this is all or nothing for me. I'm going to go at it until the wheels fall off. I don't care about the heat, I don't care about none of that. I'm going to have to die on the field before I can take myself out. That's just how it is."

This offseason was a learning process for the former Notre Dame running back, who had to understand that the Texans valued simplicity at his position. Little by little he separated himself from the two other undrafted rookies and worked on his special-teams ability.

Today when final cuts are announced, Wood will not be one of them. He'll open the season as the Texans' third running back, a position with the potential to make a difference.

In the end, the Texans made the smart decision in taking Wood over Deji Karim, the only non-rookie competing for that spot. Karim has shown a lot of what he can do during his three years in the NFL. The Texans have a good idea of Karim's ceiling. Wood's growth, though, is just starting. And he could find himself in an even better position next season if Houston's backup running back, Ben Tate, departs in free agency.