Recovered from ulcer, Texans guard Brandon Brooks poised for a big year

HOUSTON -- One of the things that made the Texans' win over the Baltimore Ravens last season so impressive was that they did it without starting right guard Brandon Brooks. Brooks was out with a mysterious and sudden illness and spent a full day in the hospital while right tackle Derek Newton shifted inside to guard and reserve tackle Tyson Clabo took over at right tackle against one of the league's most fierce pass rushes.

Brooks thought he had a stomach virus. It wasn't pleasant, but it seemed temporary. He later learned it wasn't.

"Turns out I had an ulcer," Brooks said. "I didn’t know about it. Luckily, they found it this time with the same symptoms I had last time. I knew it was something serious so I wanted to get it checked out. Not to get too much into detail, but they went in with cameras and found it and gave me some medicine, so I’m good to go."

The ulcer is now gone. To avoid such problems in the future, Brooks has changed his eating habits. He's cut out sodas, junk foods and greasy foods. He added more greens to his diet and baked chicken and fish.

The diet change might have helped Brooks, who was already perhaps the Texans' most consistent lineman last season. He enters 2015 poised for a very strong season.

"I think I can be much better," Brooks said. "I would say I’m one of those guys where I think there are always things I can work on to get better. You know, pass-pro, running game, recognition of blitzes, knowing the playbook better, things along those lines. I think I can be much better."