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HOUSTON (AP) — Lamar Miller was searching for ways to improve this offseason after what he calls a disappointing 2017.It was then that the Houston Texans running back decided to take the advice of two former Miami Hurricanes running backs with a combined 25 years of NFL experience.Edgerrin James Houston Texans Customized Jerseys , a four-time Pro Bowler who spent 11 years in the NFL, and Frank Gore, a 35-year-old who made the Pro Bowl five times and is in his 14th season shared their secret for NFL longevity: weight loss.“They were just telling me that every year they tried to play lighter and lighter because as you get older they say you lose a step … and all that weight is not good,” Miller said.“So just having guys like that to give you some knowledge on some of the things that helped them throughout their career, I just felt like it would help me. So that’s something I tried to focus on this offseason was to lose some weight.”Gore called Miller his “little brother” and said he’s a big believer in running backs getting lighter as they age.“I used to play at 217, 218 when I was younger,” he said. “Now I try to play lighter than that.”That led the 5-foot-10 Miller to shed about 7 pounds, dropping from 225 last year to 218 this season.Though he didn’t make the change until this season, his transformation was about three years in the making.Gore, who Miller has long looked to for advice, first brought up that he started playing a bit lighter every year as he aged before Miller’s first season in Houston in 2016. But Miller was just 25 at the time and thought he was too young to worry about something that helped older players.So, he went the other way and gained a few pounds before that season because he thought it would help him carry a bigger rushing load.He had a good year, rushing for 1,073 yards with five touchdowns, before a 2017 season where he finished with 888 yards rushing and never ran for more than 75 yards in a game all season.And when he spoke with James this offseason and he shared the same thing as Gore and suggested Miller should slim down, too, he decided to give it a try.“I thought: ‘They had success doing it so why can’t you,'” Miller said.It’s a change he believes has made a big difference.“I can feel it,” he said. “I feel lighter when I’m running and stuff and overall my body feels good. I think it’s helped me. So far, I’ve been doing good. I don’t really see how it hasn’t (helped).”The numbers back it up. Miller had 103 yards rushing last week for his fourth 100-yard game this season, and with five regular-season games left he needs just 13 yards to eclipse last year’s rushing total.Coach Bill O’Brien has been impressed with Miller’s improvement this season.“He really wanted to come in this year and have a good year for us and that’s what he’s done,” O’Brien said. “I think we’ve managed him pretty well and he’s done a great job of Houston Texans T-Shirts , in the offseason, training and then having a good training camp. He’s always been a consistent performer for us.”The thing that disappointed Miller most about his numbers last year was that he averaged a career-low 3.7 yards a carry.“That was bad,” he said. “My whole career I was averaging 4 yards or better, so that was a big drop-off for me.”This season he’s boosted his average to 5 yards a carry, which is second only to the 5.1 yards he averaged in 2014 when he ran for a career-best 1,099 yards in Miami. Miller ranks sixth in the NFL in yards rushing and has the longest TD run in the league this season after he rumbled 97 yards for a score in Houston’s win over Tennessee on Nov. 26.That run made him the only player in NFL history to have two TD runs of 95 yards or longer after he also had a 97-yard touchdown run in 2014 while with the Dolphins.Houston defensive end Jadeveon Clowney said that Miller looked like a rookie on that run and Miller, who was a sprinter on Miami’s track team along with playing football, said he heard similar things from many old friends after that touchdown.“People were saying: “oh you still have your speed and stuff,'” Miller said. “So just hearing it from a lot of people that I grew up with was good.”Gore was among those who delighted in seeing Miller break that long run and he raved about his work this season.“He’s balling,” Gore said. “He’s taking advantage of his opportunity. I hope he gets in the Pro Bowl.”Miller knows the solid play of Houston’s offensive line and his focus on being more decisive have also contributed to his success this season. But he’s sure the weight loss gave him a boost and that’s why he’s going to follow in the footsteps of his fellow former Hurricane friends for the rest of his career.“I’m back in a rhythm,” he said. “I’m doing some positive things to help this team win and that’s always a good thing. So, I’m going to keep that formula to try to keep losing weight as I get older.” HOUSTON (AP) — DeAndre Hopkins had the best season of his career, carrying Houston's receivers in a year the group was decimated by injuries.Now the self-described best receiver in the NFL will need another big performance for the Texans to get a win over the Colts in the wild-card game on Saturday."I feel like I'm a leader of this team, not just this offense," Hopkins said. "I was named captain, so for me to go out and play my best game is important, not just for me but for this team." Hopkins finished the regular season with a career-high 1,572 yards receiving, which ranked second in the NFL, and his 115 receptions tied a franchise record set by Andre Johnson in 2008. His 11 touchdown receptions were fifth in the league and tied for the second most in his career after he grabbed a franchise-record 13 last season.His performance comes in a season when the Texans lost starting receiver Will Fuller to a torn knee ligament in October, and Demaryius Thomas to an Achilles tendon injury two weeks ago. Houston got solid production from Keke Coutee midway through the season, but the rookie has missed the last five games with a hamstring injury https://www.texansfanshop.com/hats , leaving Hopkins to carry an even bigger load than usual.Coach Bill O'Brien is wowed by the sixth-year player nearly every day, and when asked about him this week he noted Hopkins had just made a nifty one-handed grab in practice a few minutes earlier."He just has a great skill set, really smart player, excellent competitor, can really make the contested catch, he can line up inside, he can line up outside, he can do a lot of different things, and he's come up real big for us," O'Brien said. "He has 115 catches and they've all been important catches. He's a leading third-down target. … He always impresses me."He's so good and consistent that second-year quarterback Deshaun Watson admitted he's tempted to throw it to him on every play."For sure," Watson said. "Usually he's going to make a play happen regardless if you think he's open. If he's not open, he's open."Hopkins has a knack for making catches at key moments, with 81 of his 115 receptions resulting in a first down or a touchdown. And an even more impressive statistic, according to Pro Football Focus, is that he does not have a single drop this season on catchable targets.After that statistic was released, a meme featured a picture of Hopkins with a bottle of glue in one of his hands bearing a label that read: ‘Hopkins' Catch-All Multi-Purpose WR, extra strong formula, no drop.' Hopkins was amused by the meme and his tweet of it received more than 68,000 likes.But he said he's more concerned about being consistent than the fact he hasn't dropped a ball all season."That's my goal every day. Being consistent, not just on the football field but in life," he said. "Playing football is something I love doing, and being named as one of the best is something that I work hard for because I think everybody wants to be the best at their position. Otherwise why would you play your position? So Houston Texans Hoodie , to get that recognition from whoever made that, that was pretty cool … I know that if I don't drop a ball, it's going to lead to something good."Watson didn't have to play with Hopkins long to realize he wasn't like most receivers and that his skills could help make up for some of the young quarterback's mistakes."I found that out last year when I was throwing to him. It's ridiculous," Watson said. "My first start in Cincinnati last year, some balls there I kind of threw high. Some stop routes. I'd come over and be like: ‘Hey, it's my bad. I'm going to get it down,' and he was just like: ‘No, I want it just like that. I want it high. I want it outside. I want it low,' and he just found a way to get it."His production this season is even more impressive considering he's been hampered by minor injuries, but still started every game. While those injuries never kept him out on game day, they limited his practice time, which he acknowledges was difficult."It's been challenging not being able to practice with my guys like I want to, being out there, just having fun with the fellas," he said. "That's why I look forward to coming to work every day, just being around my teammates, not just going out there and making plays on Sunday."It's been challenging from that aspect, but it's been good," he continued. "My play has correlated to us winning games, so I feel like me personally, this is my best season. We won the division. Best record I've had since I've been here yet."And now Hopkins and the Texans will try to build on that success as they chase their first championship.