HOUSTON (AP) -Samkon Gado makes no secret of his plans to become a doctor when his playing days are through.
So when the Houston Texans running back asked if he could miss a few practices to finish a prep course for the MCAT he plans to take in July, coach Gary Kubiak gladly agreed.
Gado missed a handful of the workouts last month, but is back in Houston and has returned to practice. He'll take the test on July 15.
Kubiak wasn't worried about Gado missing the time for such a good reason.
``He's an impressive human being,'' Kubiak said. ``He's got his stuff together and he'll be fine.''
He first took the test two years ago, but decided to take it again to try to improve his score before applying to medical school. He enrolled in a class in South Carolina to prepare.
``It wasn't an easy class and that's why he let me stay and miss some of the offseason workouts,'' Gado said. ``It was good. It was long and arduous, but I think it prepared me for the test.''
Gado was traded to Houston from Green Bay in September for Vernand Morency. As a rookie in 2005, Gado was the feel-good story of the Packers' 4-12 season. After injuries devastated Green Bay's backfield, the undrafted free agent rose from the practice squad to a starting role. He started five games and ran for 582 yards and six touchdowns.
Things didn't go so well in his first season in Houston, when he had just 210 yards rushing and one touchdown. He hopes for more success after having some time to adjust to his new team.
``I think individually a year in the system has really helped,'' he said. ``Being here and not coming in the middle has kind of helped settle my mind a little bit.''
Kubiak has been encouraged by Gado's work this offseason and is confident he can bounce back after last year's struggles.
``He reminds me ... (of) Mike Anderson in Denver that had a rough year one year and then all of a sudden came back in the offseason and it was like he was possessed the way he practiced and worked,'' Kubiak said. ``It was like holy smokes. You watch the kid out here practice right now and his effort on the field is incredible. He plans on getting something done. I would be very surprised if he doesn't do it.''
The Texans had no proven running backs at the start of last season after Domanick Williams was placed on injured reserve. Now Houston as an overabundance of players at the position, including four-time Pro Bowler Ahman Green and 1999 Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne, which could leave Gado's job in jeopardy.
``We have a tremendous situation,'' Kubiak said. ``We went from it being a big-time weakness when our season started last year to it being the strength of our team right now.''
Gado's goal is to make the team, then he will set more goals. But regardless of what happens with the Texans, he already has a great backup plan.
``Medicine has always been priority No. 1,'' Gado said. ``Football has been a very welcome diversion and I'd like to entertain that as long as possible. But for as long as I can remember, the plan has always been med school. Everything I can do right now in the offseason is tailored toward that end.''

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