HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – It’s been quite the serendipitous season for Texans quarterback T.J. Yates.
Back in October, he returned to his first professional team in a backup role thanks to Ryan Mallett’s unceremonious departure.
Mere weeks later, he took over in the second half on the road and guided Houston to a win in Cincinnati, the same site where, as a rookie, he led the Texans to their first division title in 2011.
Thanks to another concussion for starter Brian Hoyer, Yates will again be starting against his hometown team this Sunday. Yates grew up in Indianapolis until he was 10 years old.
He’ll even facing a former coach. Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was the defensive coordinator at North Carolina in 2007 while Yates was a Tar Heel.
“Just in that short time he was there, he made such an impact on me and everyone else in that building,” Yates said of Pagano. “He’s such a good guy, such a good coach. I love that guy.”
And funny enough, there’s again a division title likely on the line against Pagano and Yates’ childhood team of choice.
“I was born in Indy and my family and I were all diehard Colts fans,” Yates said. “Had to ask my brother what jersey he’s going to wear Sunday, because he’s still a very big fan.”
Even then, Yates had no such designs on this day. He wanted to be an NFL quarterback, but he wasn’t picturing himself on the opposite sideline.
“I never imagined it growing up there,” he said. “I remember back when it was the RCA Dome, I did a Punt, Pass and Kick [competition] there when I was six, seven years old. You never think it’s going to happen like this.”
Being a Colts fan as an aspiring quarterback meant there was only one choice for Yates’ favorite player.
“When I was growing up, it was Peyton [Manning],” Yates said. “He was there when we were die-hard Colts fans. Even when we moved to Atlanta later, we travelled down to Jacksonville to see him play.
“We were pretty die-hard — not anymore though. Got to make that clear,” Yates quipped.
As for his brother’s loyalty this weekend?
“He’s going to support the Texans. But all other weeks, he’s a Colts fan,”