Texans RB Slaton thinks neck issues caused fumbling problems

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reported that Texans RB Steve Slaton believes that the root to his 2009 fumble problem was his prolonged neck injury.

“If you can’t feel you’re hand in there, you can’t squeeze (the ball) as hard as you want to. I tried to downplay it, but it came to a point where I had to get surgery.”

Slaton had seven fumbles in 2009. The fumbles led to more bench time during the season and the drafting of Auburn RB Ben Tate with the 58th overall pick. Currently, Slaton’s practicing with the red “hands off” jersey during 11-on-11 drills; however, Houston offensive coordinator Rick Dennison believes Slaton can bounce back after the disappointing 2009 season.

“I think he got hurt a little bit, but he’s proven to be a good back,” Dennison said.

There’s little reason to doubt Slaton’s honesty concerning his injury. First, the speedy running back never fumbled for the West Virginia Mountaineers on 732 total touches. More importantly, Slaton only fumbled twice in his rookie season on 494 touches. Although the seven fumbles in 2009 are daunting, he should still be in the hunt for the starting job. Slaton was originally drafted to be a third down back.

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