The Houston Texans are going to be without Dylan Horton for the foreseeable future. The rookie defensive end announced recently that he was stepping away from the team to focus on an undisclosed health issue that he's currently dealing with. No word on what that health issue is, and we won't begin to speculate.
It should be stated above all else that his health is the biggest priority and if he needs to miss the season or longer to get right, he absolutely should, as this is just a game and his health is the most important thing. He shouldn't rush back and his privacy should be respected.
That doesn't mean, however, that the impact on the football side of things is going to be ignored. Losing Horton hurts. He was one of the guys from this vaunted 2023 Houston Texans' rookie class who was getting a lot of reps heading into Week 12's matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars. It's one of the few marquee matchups for the week, and the week-to-week improvement of the Texans and their 6-4 record is a big reason for that.
Part of the reason for the improvement from week to week has been the improvement of the defense as the season went on. Horton was part of the improvement. While not a featured defender on the Texans' defense, Horton did provide stable and reliable relief for the starters by working as part of the defensive line's rotation.
And after a string of bad games, he finally had a huge bounce-back game against the Arizona Cardinals, where he was everywhere on the field. He had three tackles on the day and saw some deep penetration against the Cardinals' offensive line whenever he was on the field. It looked like he was about to take that next step forward, so his departure from team activities due to his health has come at the first possible time for not only himself but the team.
Still, above all us, what we want is for Horton to get healthy. The team can try and find someone else to fill his role in the interim, but Horton has to do everything he can to get right health-wise. We're pulling for him, and we wish Horton the very best in his personal life.