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Backup TE Casey practices at FB in case Leach leaves Houston

For James Casey, starting at fullback sounds a lot better than being a third-string tight end. The third-year pro told the *Houston Chronicle* that he's ready to switch positions if the Texans can't re-sign Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach.

Casey, who backs up tight ends Owen Daniels and Joel Dreessen, has added 10 pounds and put in extra time this offseason working on his blocking in informal workouts at Rice Stadium. Between all that extra work and his knowledge of the position as a backup to Leach last season, Casey is confident he can step in and do the job if needed.

"I've taken it on myself to get big and strong and work as hard as I can on my blocking," Casey said in a story published Monday. "That way, if I do get the opportunity (to be the lead blocker), I want to be big and strong enough to move people and to withstand the punishment that goes with it."

Leach helped clear the way for Arian Foster to lead the league in rushing in 2010. The Texans want Leach back, but whether they are prepared to make the seven-year veteran the NFL's highest-paid fullback is unclear.

"Everyone wants Vonta back, and he wants to be here. But we all know this is a business, and you never know what's going to happen," Casey said.

"I've been working my tail off since I got here, and I want to get on the field any way I can, no matter what it takes," he said. "My first two years, I pictured myself as a tight end catching passes all over the field, but maybe I was a little naive."

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