Texans’ Brian Peters a rare breed: Both linebacker and kicker

Getty Images

Houston’s Brian Peters is playing a combination of positions that’s unheard of in the modern NFL: He plays both linebacker and kicker.

Although Peters is listed as a linebacker, on Sunday against the Vikings he took the field for the Texans’ first two kickoffs and did well, as the Texans kicked high and short and stopped the Vikings at the 16-yard line and the 24-yard line.

Peters was a kicker in high school, and Texans coach Bill O’Brien said after the game that he had seen Peters kick in practice and liked the way he kicked the ball.

“Well, one of the reasons why we did that was because we were concerned about their returners, and he had kicked different types of kicks very well for us during the week – squib kicks,” O’Brien said. “He had been able to kick it out of the end zone a couple of times for us, and actually, the times – especially the first kickoff – when he kicked it, it was kind of a knuckleball that we instructed him to do it that way and we ended up tackling the guy I think around the 15-yard line, so that worked out really well. We’re just trying to change it up. Sometimes it’s good to change that up for the opponent to have to deal with that.”

Peters suffered a quadriceps injury later in the game so the Texans’ usual kicker, Nick Novak, went back to handling kickoffs. O’Brien said he thinks both players will kick off as the season goes on.

“Sometimes we want Nick in there to direct it a certain way and things like that, but Brian, we think, has a real strong leg and he can do some things that we need him to do,” O’Brien said.

An undrafted rookie in 2012, Peters has bounced around the NFL and also played in the Arena league, the United Football League and the Canadian Football League. The more different jobs Peters can fill, the more likely he is to keep a job, and so it’s a good sign for him that the Texans think he can play both linebacker and kicker.