Rashad Butler developing mean streak in camp

When left tackle Rashad Butler takes the field, he sometimes has to remind himself to be mean to opposing players.

Entering his fifth season in the NFL, Butler (6-4, 309) is as gentle a giant as they come.

But when he’s on the field, he puts away the wide smile and fends off pass rushers. He played in 14 games last season, primarily on special teams.

He filled in for an injured starter Duane Brown in December and said the experience helped his mental preparedness.

“I don’t really have to think about everything as much,” Butler said. “I just walk up to the line, look at the defense, make my calls, and we’re good to go.”

Butler, 27, worked in the offseason to improve his explosiveness and technique. Coaches say he made a big leap from last year’s training camp. Under new offensive line coach John Benton, Butler has seen more playing time during practice. He should get plenty of chances this preseason to showcase his quickness on the line.

Butler has been a natural fit as a backup on the Texans line the past three seasons, primarily because he played at Miami with fellow offensive linemen Chris Myers and Eric Winston. Butler has been described by teammates as lighthearted, goofy and easygoing.

But when it comes time for competition, Butler’s challenge is turning that friendliness off.

“It’s been especially hard,” he said. “You have to compete hard every day because nobody is going to give anything to you.

“You always have something to prove. I have to go out and show the coaches that I can be a monster.”

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