Houston Texans: You don’t want to count out Duke Ejiofor just yet

Houston Texans outside linebacker Duke Ejiofor (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Houston Texans outside linebacker Duke Ejiofor (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Houston Texans outside linebacker Duke Ejiofor will be sidelined once again which is another setback on potentially budding career. Don’t count him out yet.

We’re finally here Houston Texans’ fans — training camp is here and we’re about to find out who will emerge as well as the best storylines to follow during this period.  Luckily, training camp will be all that the players will have to be concerned about as the NFL has decided to cancel the preseason.

The league will go straight into the season next month without those games and it’s expected that they’ll still have the readiness that’s needed for them to compete.

I’ve honestly thought the preseason is just an additional stream of revenue for the NFL and their franchises, with fans buying tickets to games and many more watching on the televisions.  The games are meaningless but they’re still fun to watch to see who wins what battle for any given roster spot.  The NFL knows this and that’s why there are typically four games leading into the regular season.

Originally, the preseason had been cut to two games and then it was nixed altogether recently which is certainly a good move in the best interest of public health and with the NFL still working through protocols to keep players as safe as possible from the global pandemic that we’re all enduring at this moment.

This will mean likely fewer injuries going into the season, ensuring that teams will have their full rosters going into their respective battles.  You’ve seen it, I’ve seen it, a team loses an integral piece each season in the preseason and they have to adjust to life without them.  That likely won’t happen now and it’s going to create even more parity in a league that’s already as level as one can get.

One storyline that I was looking forward to reporting on was the progress of 6th-rounder Duke Ejiofor out of Wake Forest back in the 2018 NFL Draft.

A guy that was supposed to a nice complement to J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, Brandon Dunn, Benardrick McKinney and Zach Cunningham will be no more for 2020.

He’s local talent out of Alief High and is well-known in the area for his explosiveness out on the field.  But it has been his health that has been an issue throughout his whole career and the likely reason why his draft stock tumbled last season.

In 2018, back when I was broadcasting with the Locked on Podcast network, my long-time friend/co-

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host Robert Land and I interviewed Riley Johnston, then-managing editor of SB Nation’s Blogger So Dear — the Wake Forest affiliate — to get some insight on what kind of player he was and his injury history.

It seems as if the same narrative is playing out again.  Ejiofor’s season was cut short in 2019 because of torn Achilles’ injury and now his ACL will shelve him for this season as well.

He’s dealt with so much adversity and still keeps coming back for more which is absolutely admirable for him, not losing focus of his dream.

But, as they say, your best ability is your availability and that hasn’t happened as of late.  It could be a detriment to his vitality on this roster but I’m hoping that’s not the case.

Duke is a true fighter and I think he’s got an uphill battle against him.  I’m not counting him out though and you shouldn’t either.

I’m hoping he gets the opportunity to prove himself once again next season — let’s go Houston Texans!

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Ejiofor, 25, has accumulated nine tackles — six solos — along with 1.0 sack, one tackle-for-loss, two quarterback hits, two passes defensed and one fumble recovery through 12 games back in 2018, his last season of action.