NFL notes: Gary Kubiak visits Houston Texans

Texans coach Gary Kubiak was back with his team, if only for a short visit.

He dropped in on the team at the end of practice Thursday in Houston, four days after he collapsed at a game with a mini-stroke. Kubiak was not made available to the media, but interim head coach Wade Phillips shared what Kubiak said to the team.

‘‘Mostly that he missed them and how much he missed [being here],’’ Phillips said. ‘‘[He said] You don’t realize until you’re away from it a little bit how much you miss the team and being around them, and that kind of thing. And that he felt good. That was his message.’’


It was the first time Kubiak had addressed the Texans since collapsing on the field and being rushed to the hospital at halftime of Houston’s loss to the Colts on Sunday night.

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‘‘To actually see him and hear him talk to us, that means everything,’’ left tackle Duane Brown said. ‘‘You can hear all about somebody doing well . . . but seeing them out and about and walking around that means everything to us.’’

The Texans have not said when the 52-year-old Kubiak will resume his coaching duties. But they have said that he is expected to make a full recovery after he was released from the hospital Tuesday.

Defensive end Antonio Smith was relieved to see Kubiak after only hearing reports of his status since his attack.

‘‘It was a breath of fresh air,’’ Smith said. ‘‘That takes a lot of the guessing out of it. Everybody was wondering how he was really doing . . . is he really worse than what they say? He’s right there in front of you doing good.’’

EJ Manuel back in


Having lost rookie starter EJ Manuel to injury twice already since August, Bills coach Doug Marrone doesn’t want to make it a third time. That’s why Marrone, on Thursday, re-emphasized the importance of Manuel avoiding taking unnecessary hits with the quarterback preparing to return from a sprained right knee. ‘‘There’s a fine line between very, very competitive and for someone in that position to be smart. So I think he’ll be better,’’ Marrone said. After pausing for emphasis, Marrone added: ‘‘Well, he had better be better, right?’’ The words of caution came after the first-round pick took most of the snaps in practice for a second straight day, putting him on track to start Sunday against Pittsburgh (2-6) . . . Running back David Wilson’s second season with the Giants is over because of a neck injury. The Giants placed their 2012 first-round draft pick on season-ending injured reserve Thursday, roughly a month after he was hurt against the Eagles. Wilson sustained a herniated disk and tests showed some narrowing of his spinal column . . . Giants receiver Victor Cruz returned to practice wearing a red noncontact jersey. Cruz hurt his neck Oct. 27 against the Eagles but is expected to play Sunday against the Raiders . . . Bears QB Jay Cutler (torn groin muscle) returned to practice and is expected to start Sunday against the Lions . . . Packers linebacker Clay Matthews said he will return for Sunday’s game against the Eagles after missing the last four weeks with a broken right thumb . . . A New Jersey grand jury indicted Jets running back Michael Goodson and another man on weapons possession charges, stemming from a traffic stop last spring. Goodson’s attorney, Anthony Fusco Jr., said his client would be exonerated and that prosecutors ‘‘have no evidence the gun was in his possession.’’