HOUSTON (AP) -Ahman Green feels better than he has in years.
Mike Sherman, who coached him in Green Bay, took it a step further, telling coach Gary Kubiak that Green looks better than ever.
``Mike's told me a couple of times, 'You know he looks as good as I've ever seen him look,''' Kubiak said. ``And Mike's had him for a long time.''
That's good news for a Texans running game that languished in 2006 until the last month of the season while relying on inexperienced and injured backs. Houston opened last season with rookie sixth-round draft pick Wali Lundy as the starter and the running game didn't get going until Ron Dayne got healthy and emerged in December.
Green had 266 carries for 1,059 yards last season after returning from a torn right quadriceps in 2005. He missed two games in 2006 because of continued problems from the injury.
He spent the last seven years in Green Bay, where Sherman, now a Texans assistant, was head coach until last season.
``I'd say I feel better than I have in probably about two years since I got the leg injury,'' Green said. ``I've been coming back from it. I'm coming back strong.''
The signing of Green, a free agent, to a four-year contract this offseason was one of two major acquisitions in the makeover of Houston's offense. The 30-year-old and new quarterback Matt Schaub will take over for franchise leading rusher Domanick Williams (formerly Davis) and leading passer David Carr, both released in March.
``I'm excited about being in a new place, being around new teammates,'' Green said. ``You can just feel the enthusiasm because everything is new.''
He's also working to make sure Schaub, who is in his first starting role, understands that he's there to help him succeed.
``I'm having fun running behind the big guys and bringing Matt along and just letting him know that I'm the type of back who's got your back when you're passing the ball,'' Green said. ``That's one less thing you've got to worry about when you're back there in the pocket.''
He has 8,491 yards and 54 touchdowns in his nine-year career that began with Seattle. Green gained more than 1,100 yards in each of the previous five seasons before his injury in 2005.
Kubiak hopes to keep Green this healthy throughout the season and believes the rest of Houston's running backs, which includes Dayne, will help with that.
``I think the key is that we have enough guys out here to where we don't have to beat him up,'' Kubiak said. ``I think that's going to be key, to be fresh for that 25 or so carries he gets on Sunday, because he ought to be fresh because we have plenty of guys to help him out.''
The Texans ended minicamp a day early on Tuesday and won't practice again until training camp begins in late July. Green said he's looking forward to the time off to explore the city and spend time with his family.
But he's also antsy for the beginning of camp when the Texans begin practicing in pads and he can get a better feel for the progress of the new-look offense.
``The exciting thing is as good as we look without pads, we're going to look even better with pads,'' he said. ``We're already getting our bodies and our footwork in the right places to make the plays, so we'll be ready for that.''

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