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BALLSTON SPA: Weaver comes home to lend a helping hand

"It's a short career, and basically you have to go where the money is," said Ralph. "It's not a 15-year career. I heard somewhere that the average NFL career is five years."

Changing teams also meant a changing roll for Weaver. Instead of being the young one on Baltimore's defensive line, he was now the seasoned veteran on a young Houston line.

"I was the old guy, which startled me because when I was with the Ravens, I was with a lot of veterans," said Weaver.

Weaver performed well for Houston in his first season. He had 26 solo tackles and 35 total tackles, and he had his longest interception return of his career, a 21-yard return against Jacksonville in week 10.

More importantly, Weaver said the whole Houston defensive unit improved from the 2005 season.

"I think we made a lot of strides," he said. "We started a lot of young guys, especially on the defensive line."

Weaver's parents saw him play every game last year, even though his home games were nearly 1,800 miles away. And they plan on doing so again this year.

"My wife and I manage it," said Ralph. "If there's two home games back to back, I'll stay down there."

The Weavers might have another local family going with them to Houston this year " the Davis family of Niskayuna. That's because their son AndrE, a wide receiver, signed a one-year contract with the Texans last week. It will be the first time the two former Section II all-stars will play for the same team.

"I'm excited about AndrE being in Houston not only because he's a great player, but also because he's a great person," said Weaver.

Weaver's high school coach, Blase Iuliano, might also be able to catch his games this year. The longtime Saratoga football coach recently retired, which frees up his weekends for the first time in more than three decades.

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