ON SPORTS: Cuero's Wallace bids for spot on Texans' active roster
Aug. 18, 2012 at 3:18 a.m.
HOUSTON - Cody Wallace wasn't happy about being cut by the Houston Texans after training camp last season, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Wallace drove to his grandparents' home in Cuero and found out the next day his wife, Chely, was pregnant.
Wallace was able to fly back to their California home before being called back to join the Texans practice squad.
Wallace completed the season with the Texans and signed with the team again this season, but not before witnessing the birth of his son, Ryder, in May.
"I thought at the end of last year's training camp I had a pretty good camp," Wallace said while preparing for Saturday night's preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers at Reliant Stadium. "Whenever they released me, I thought I'd get a call from somewhere."
Wallace, 27, has learned not to be surprised by anything that happens in professional football.
He was an all-state lineman at Cuero and earned All-Big 12 honors as a center at Texas A&M before being selected in the fourth round of the 2008 draft by the 49ers.
Wallace spent two seasons with the 49ers before being waived after training camp in 2010.
He was briefly a member of the practice squads for the Detroit Lions and New York Jets and was on the Lions' active roster for three weeks before being cut.
He spent the second half of the 2010 season on the Texans' practice squad.
"Whenever I got drafted, I wanted to have a successful career and play a long time," Wallace said. "It's not like I'm disappointed with anything. It's still an honor to be here.
"As far as people's notions of the NFL before they get there, it's kind of hard to realize coming from college to the pros what a business it is. It's a lot of fun, but it's still a job and you have to keep that in perspective and realize this is your career you're working at. A lot of times it's short-lived even if you have a long career. It's not a whole lifetime worth."
Wallace played center in the Texans' preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers, but can also play both guard positions, which helped him earn another shot with the team.
"Well, Cody's been here for a while, and he's a talented guy," said Texans offensive line coach John Benton. "But probably the biggest reason is he's very versatile, he can play all three interior spots, he's got a great handle on the offense, so it was seamless to bring him back that way."
Wallace played at 295 pounds at Texas A&M and went into Saturday night's game at 307 pounds. He feels more comfortable in the Texans' offense than he did with the 49ers.
"Here, they don't really need you to be that big," he said. "When I was in San Francisco, there was a point when I was 318 pounds, and I could definitely tell. They were all power whenever I was there. Here it's a lot of lateral running. They like to have athletic linemen here."
Wallace knows the clock is ticking on his pro football career.
He is eligible to play one more season on the practice squad, but has spoken with Sean Washington, the team's player development director about the future.
Wallace's plans could include returning to Texas A&M where he had begun working toward a master's degree.
"I know this is a big year for me," Wallace said. "Not a lot of teams want to give a fifth-year player practice squad. Somehow, I knew that it was a big year for me to try and make the roster."
Wallace's chances of making the Texans' active roster depend on how he performs the rest of training camp and on the field in preseason games.
"Like anybody else, he's got to produce on a consistent level," Benton said. "He's been very close for a long time and continues to progress and whatnot. But that'll be how he does it, is through his versatility and contributing that way."
Wallace has found a way to succeed at every level and he hopes to continue the trend.
"When I was young, I never really thought about it," Wallace said. "But once I got into high school and started playing football, my whole goal was just to get a college scholarship. Once I was able to do that and finally get to start in college that became my next goal.
"It's been a lot of fun to realize a dream that you've worked hard for since you were a freshman in high school."
Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment on this column at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.