View Full Version : Pro opportunity excites Bennett

05-01-2008, 02:39 AM

Turning challenging moments into opportunities has always been one of the great themes of sports. It’s a favorite message for high school football coaches, who know their players are bound to make mistakes and need the positive reinforcement to pick themselves up and try again. And even for the pros, the story of the underdog rising above or a competitor in a hard-luck situation breaking through still entertains. Just look at this year’s Super Bowl.

Former Dalton High football standout Cole Bennett’s path toward the dream of becoming an NFL player — he was picked up as a free agent by the Houston Texans following the conclusion of last weekend’s draft — has some of those elements.

Prior to what was supposed to be his senior football season at Auburn University, Bennett was given a respectful nod from Southeastern Conference coaches, picked by them for the 2006 preseason all-conference squad. But a broken ankle suffered early in that season derailed any plans for a big finish, and the 6-foot-4-inch, 265-pound tight end aimed at getting back in time to play out the end of the regular season, a goal that later became simply making it back for the Tigers’ bowl game.

On Sunday night, not long after he received a phone call letting him know the Texans wanted him, Bennett talked about the impact that game and the new-look offense had on the trajectory of his football future.

“(I was told Texans scouts and coaches) were real impressed with how I adapted to the offense we ran during the bowl game against Clemson,” said Bennett, who was at his parents’ home in Dalton during draft weekend. “They do a lot of splitting the tight end out and things like that.”

He expects to become much more familiar with the Texans’ approach when he heads to their three-day minicamp on May 9, but he’s already pumped about the organization that is giving him a chance at an NFL career.

The expansion franchise, added in 2002, has had a tough beginning but showed signs of improvement last year. The Texans finished 8-8 for their first non-losing season and new quarterback Matt Schaub looked promising (when healthy), particularly when paired with wide receiver Andre Johnson (when healthy).