In the fourth quarter of Houston’s comeback victory in San Diego on Monday night, ESPN’s cameras caught Arian Foster starting to run onto the field to relieve Texans backfield mate Ben Tate after Tate ran for a short gain.
The cameras then saw Tate turn back to the huddle and cut to Foster removing his helmet on the sideline and then saying something to someone, perhaps himself, in a rather animated fashion. We don’t know exactly what he said because Foster chose not to speak to the media after the game, although he didn’t seem thrilled to be on the sideline at that point in the game. Coach Gary Kubiak was asked about the moment on Tuesday and pretty much waved it off.
“They’re competitors, and both want to be on the field,” Kubiak said, via John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.
Foster did not play at all in the preseason because of calf and back injuries and the Texans were pretty open about the fact that he wasn’t going to see his customary workload in the Week One. He still wound up with 24 touches, though, and could have had even more if not for a couple of drops. He also looked like a player who had no preseason action, so it wasn’t surprising to see Tate keep getting looks on his way to 55 rushing yards on nine carries.
There’s no sign that any frustration Foster might have felt during the game spilled over into the locker room and he wouldn’t be the first person to let go of some anger without letting it take over his entire day. If it did, though, the wisest response would be to empathize with Foster, whose role has been bigger than any other back’s over the last three years, while also pointing out that seeing less work now will keep him fresher as the season progresses and perhaps keep him from picking up the nagging injuries that have become a frequent part of his life.