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Texans release leading tackler Sharper

HOUSTON (April 1, 2005) -- The Houston Texans released veteran linebacker Jamie Sharper, continuing an offseason makeover of a defense that ranked in the bottom third of the NFL for the second straight season.

Sharper, entering his ninth year, had started all 48 games over the past three seasons at middle linebacker for the Texans since coming to the club in the 2002 expansion draft.

Sharper led Houston with 137 tackles in 2004 and also led the team in that category in 2002 but became expendable during an offseason in which the Texans are trying to add more speed to their 3-4 defense. Sharper had asked the team for his release three weeks ago after the Texans gave him permission to seek a trade.

Sharper spent the first five years of his career with Baltimore. He was a key starter on the dominant defense that led the Ravens to a Super Bowl title in 2000.

Two weeks ago, Houston also released linebacker Jay Foreman and safety Eric Brown, who had both been starters since the franchise's inaugural season in 2002. The Texans restocked their linebacker corps, though, by signing speedy free agent Morlon Greenwood to a five-year deal last month.

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