Per Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post and Ben Tate's own Twitter page, the former Auburn running back has been medically cleared after having surgery and rehabbing his broken right fibula and torn ankle ligaments.
Tate's return to health, especially in February, likely seals the deal for Houston to not pursue resigning veteran Derrick Ward who surprised many Texans fans with his 6.3 yards per carry and four touchdowns in 2010. It's also highly likely that the still-able Ward will look for a team that can provide him with more carries.
After Tate gets back up to speed, he'll form, arguably, the league's best stable of backs with running mate Arian Foster and bulldozer Vonta Leach. If head coach Gary Kubiak and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison wish, they could also throw in Steve Slaton, should he remain on the roster, as a nice change-of-pace. In either case, the running game has an incredibly bright future in Houston with the 24-year-old Foster and 22-year-old Tate. Fans can now begin their search for a backfield nickname to help fill this long offseason void.