You’ve heard of the sophomore slump right? It usually occurs after a player has a breakout rookie season and then falls short of expectations in his second year. That’s exactly what happened, and then some, to happened to Steve Slaton last season. After bursting onto the scene in 2008 and rushing for nearly 1300 yards and nine touchdowns in his rookie season, Slaton’s production declined drastically last year. It looked like the Texans finally had a running back capable of taking pressure of Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, and the Texans passing game.
Not so fast. Last season Slaton was horrible. Not only did his yards per carry drop by one and a half, but he rushed for just over 400 yards and fumbled seven times in 11 games. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Slaton lost his job to Ryan Moats and Arian Foster and he was forced to have neck surgery in the offseason (which is expected to help his fumbling issues).
2009 was a nightmare for Steve Slaton. And even though the Texans drafted a running back early this year (Ben Tate from Auburn in the second round) Steve Slaton is now completely healthy and ready to take back the job he fumbled away last season.
Steve Slaton joined KILT in Houston with the Drivetime Players to talk about how he is recovering from surgery, what the surgery is expected to help him with, how much the injury contributed to his poor season, and what he expects his role to be within the offense.
On how he is recovering from offseason surgery:
“Everything is good. I just got cleared last month and I’m ready to go. I’ve been away from football for a long time so I’m just ready to go out and practice with everybody.”
On what exactly he had done:
“What is it? Cervical fusion. Took out a vertebrae, fused it, put four pins in, and just relieved a lot of pressure from my right side.”
On how much better he feels just in everyday life:
“I feel a lot better. It was a point in time where it got worse and I was numb from my shoulder to my thumb for two months.”
On how much the neck injury contributed to his fumbles:
“I think so. I think just not having feeling in my hand was a big thing. That’s the reason I couldn’t play anymore.”
On how surprised he was by the selection of Ben Tate in the second round:
“No. I wasn’t surprised at all, but I’m happy he’s here. I saw him play against my old alumni and he did well. I think he’s gonna be a big bonus for our team.”
On whether or not he was happy to hear that he would be the starter if he is healthy:
“Yeah. I love being the go-to guy and I’m gonna work hard to maintain that spot.”
On what he makes of Brian Cushing being suspended for four games:
“Everything happened early. He is a hard worker. I think it can only take you so far, but I see the way he plays on the field, I believe him, and I think he’s gonna come and bounce back.”
On why he dropped weight in the offseason:
“Yeah. Like I said before, that fits me the best; me being light, me being agile, and me being quick.”
On whether or not it is playoffs or bust:
“I think so. I think being so close for the past two years, I think that’s what’s on everybody’s mind. I think that’s what were all striving for and what we’ve come to play this game for.”