Texans sign former Bucs RB Ward to bolster backfield

The Houston Texans signed veteran Derrick Ward after visiting with the recently released running back Friday, according to a league source.

The Texans also talked to free-agent running back Justin Fargas, according to The Houston Chronicle, as the team continues to look to bolster a backfield that has been plagued by injuries.

Rookie running back Ben Tate was lost for the season during training camp, and Steve Slaton and Jeremiah Johnson are both nursing toe injuries.

Ward was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Tuesday when the team trimmed its roster to 75 players.

Ward signed a four-year, $17 million contract as an unrestricted free agent in 2009, moving to Tampa Bay after five seasons with the New York Giants. He was a 1,000-yard rusher two years ago with the Giants, but he struggled to make the transition to a new offense with the Bucs.

In a limited role as a backup to a revitalized Cadillac Williams, who was coming off major knee surgery, Ward rushed for 409 yards and one touchdown while averaging just 3.6 yards per carry in 2009. He was even less productive in three preseason games this year, gaining 2.6 yards per attempt and finishing with 21 carries for 50 yards.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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