The Houston Texans will be short one running back when training camp begins in August, as backup Derrick Ward officially announced his retirement on Tuesday, via Twitter:
To all my fans just wanted to let u know its been a great ride the last 9yrs but I'm calling it a career. I thank u all for believing in me!— Derrick Ward (@DerrickWard32) July 3, 2012
As indicated above, Ward is a nine-year vet of the league, the last two of which he spent in Houston. Behind both Arian Foster and Ben Tate, he had only 45 carries for the Texans in 2011. He finishes with 2,628 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns in a career that peaked with the New York Giants in 2008, when Ward ran for over 1,000 yards and averaged 5.6 a carry alongside Brandon Jacobs.
While Ward has officially announced his retirement, it's not unthinkable that he could be called into action in 2012 if a team has a sudden injury concern, as the 31-year-old is relatively healthy. Ward was expendable when the Texans signed Justin Forsett, a back who can play special teams as well.