By DEEPI SIDHU, SportsRadio 610

HOUSTON (CBS Houston) –  Inside linebacker Tim Dobbins may not require OTA training to fine-tune his ninja skills, according to the self-proclaimed ninja assassin Antonio Smith.  The defensive captain actually chuckled at the amount of press surrounding his teammate’s absence from OTAs.  Smith, a 2011 Pro Bowl defensive end, says that the veteran’s status is not about to be challenged by missing a few voluntary practices.

“He’s not like a rookie who you don’t know what he can do.  He’s a vet who’s been doing what he does for years.  He’s one of our special teams captains and guru.  He’s been doing it that way for years and I don’t think it’s going to change because he done missed a couple of OTAs.”

The Texans recorded near perfect attendance for this year’s OTAs, with the exception of the post-surgery Ed Reed and the no-show Dobbins.  The organized team activities may be voluntary but most players show up, aside from injury or perhaps contract holdouts.

Dobbins, entering his eighth season in the NFL and his third with the Texans, just signed a one-year, one-million dollar contract with guarantees of just over $360,000.  So where is he?  Running errands, taking a vacation, tending to family matters?  While the heat has been on Dobbins with his newly inked contract, head coach Gary Kubiak deflected media attention by emphasizing the voluntary nature of OTAs.  As to the real reason Dobbins may have been missing from practice, Smith is giving his teammate ‘Dobbs’ the benefit of the doubt.

“When you got stuff you got to take care of at home, you probably got stuff to take care of at home.  You need time to do it.  You need family time.  It just depends. There are so many various reasons.  I don’t know why but I’m not one of those players or people who just are going to outright shun him because he has something to do right now or he’s not here right now. Now if he was doing it for the spite, that’s different but everybody got a reason why they do everything.  Me knowing Dobs,  he gonna put it out there on the field for us every time he get a chance to get out there so I’m not worried about that.”

The 30-year old Dobbins has been the special teams captain for the Texans in his two seasons with the team.  In 2012 he played in 14 games and had 43 tackles, an interception and four fumble recoveries. He also started six games when inside linebacker Brian Cushing suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament.  With Cushing still rehabbing from ACL surgery, outside linebacker Brooks Reed has been moved to the inside for OTAs.