HOUSTON (AP) -Kevin Everett was transferred Friday to a Houston hospital to begin the next phase of his rehabilitation, less than two weeks after the Buffalo Bills tight end sustained a life-threatening spinal cord injury.
The ambulance that took Everett to Houston's Memorial Hermann Hospital was followed by a town car with two women inside, both wearing Everett jerseys. The women got out and watched as he was wheeled into the medical center.
Everett left Buffalo earlier Friday in a private plane. He was joined by his mother, Patricia Dugas, and taken to the hospital's Institute for Rehabilitation and Research. Dugas, wearing a white Bills jersey, declined to talk with reporters.
Everett spent two weeks at Buffalo's Millard Fillmore Gates Hospital paralyzed from the neck down. He was hurt making a tackle in the Bills' season opener against Denver on Sept. 9.
Initially fearing he would never walk again, doctors have since significantly upgraded their prognosis and plan to have Everett try to stand on his own in the next few days.
Dr. Barth Green, chairman of the neurological surgery department at the University of Miami school of medicine, said doctors are confident Everett could be walking within weeks if not sooner.
``They're very confident he'll be walking very soon ... in the next days or weeks, not months,'' Green told The Associated Press on Thursday shortly after discussing Everett's condition with Bills orthopedic surgeon Dr. Andrew Cappuccino. ``I think the future for him is very bright.''
Green, co-founder of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, has been in constant contact with Everett's doctors.
Green suggested Everett continue his rehabilitation in Houston, where he makes his offseason home, saying it's important for him to have his family and friends nearby.
``I love the Buffalo people, and I'll hate to leave them,'' Everett's mother said Thursday. ``But it'll be good that we can be closer to home for all our family to come over and see him because they're worried about him. ... He wants to see his family, too.''
NFL Players Association executive director Gene Upshaw and NFLPA president Troy Vincent, a former teammate of Everett's in Buffalo, visited him on Thursday.
Vincent and Everett joked around during their visit, Vincent told The Associated Press on Friday.
``He said, 'You're the last person I wanted to see me here in this position,''' Vincent said.
Everett made the joke because Vincent always kidded Everett about spending so much time being treated in the Bills training room when the two played together with the Bills.
Vincent, released by the Bills last October, kidded Everett that he needed a haircut and a shave.
He called Everett's recovery ``powerful'' and reminded Bills fans to continue sending the player cards and letters of support now that he's in Houston.
Vincent added, the NFLPA has contacted Texans players asking them to adopt Everett as an unofficial teammate.
``The Texans now have a new family member,'' Vincent said.
The NFLPA will continue monitoring Everett's progress and addressing his needs.
Vincent said Everett qualifies as a vested veteran by earning his third full NFL season when the Bills placed him on the injured reserve list last week. That means the player is eligible for the union's lifetime compensation package for total and permanent disability.
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AP Sports Writer John Wawrow in Buffalo and Associated Press Writer Juan A. Lozano in Houston contributed to this report.

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