Chester Pitts has managed to stay behind the spotlight this offseason for the Texans. With stories like the Texans’ 2010 season strength of schedule, the Cushing suspension and Rookie of the Year re-vote, and the draft, not much has been said about Houston’s “Original Texan,” his injury or the free agent market.
Back in March, the 30-year-old offensive left guard expressed his desire to return to the Texans rather than pursue other options. However, the Texans have not returned interest. Since then, the Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles have shown interest.
In an interview with David Dolati of FoxSportsHouston.com, Pitts said that he loves Houston, but the team has shown him little to none interest. However, Pitts was questioned about other suitors. Pitts said on Seattle, “I’d say they’re the front runner for the greatest need and best fit.”
The Vikings, on the other hand, start Steve Hutchinson at left guard and he will certainly not have to defend his job against Pitts, if signed; rather, the Vikes may use him to jump start or to bench right guard Anthony Herrera, who’s signed until 2012 with over 4 million still left on his contract. Additionally for the Vikes, there is no viable backup option behind their current starters since they lost utility offensive lineman, Artis Hicks, to the Redskins in the free agency.
Notably on Tuesday, Chester Pitts opened up with Sirius Radio about the teams who have interest in him.
“I originally took three trips – Detroit, San Fran and Seattle – and they’re all actually still in the mix, and then Philly and Minnesota actually called last week and said, ‘If you’re ready on the 15th, we’re going to work you out and we have a place for you,’” the likely-soon-to-be-former-lifetime-Texan told Sirius. “For me, I’m 85 percent, I’m pushing at 90 but I don’t like to say I’m at 90 because I’m not quite there yet. But I’ll be 100 percent, probably six weeks. So I have about a two-week cushion to get it as healthy and get as strong as I can get it.”
On the other teams, the Lions, 49ers and the Lions traded for a left guard Rob Sims this offseason. Sims, 26, should have no trouble winning the starting job for the Lions in 2010. The San Francisco 49ers also addressed their offensive line problem. The ‘9ers used their second first round pick on the best guard in the draft, Idaho’s Mike Iupati. The Seahawks signed left guard Ben Hamilton in April. Reportedly, first round pick Russell Okung is benefiting off of Hamilton, who played for former Texans and Broncos offensive line coach Alex Gibbs while in Denver.
With the Vikings and Eagles requesting a workout for July 15, I expect them to be Pitts’ best options. He may be able to beat out Herrera, who’s talking about another Super Bowl run, in Minnesota because their run support was heavily scrutinized last year (Adrian Peterson was held to under 4 yards per carry in seven games in 2009). The Eagles can definitely be an interesting team for the mix. Philly lost veteran leadership in McNabb and Westbrook, so Pitts’ leadership and history of durability could be what the team needs to add some for competition to assure a more solid offensive line pass effort with a quarterback who gets the ball off much quicker than than their last one. So as it looks, the Texans will be letting their lifetime and original member go. At least we can remember how many times he allow David Carr to be sacked; his impressive 2008 season with Schaub and Rosenfels at quarterback; and of course, the 2008 Super Bowl commercial.