Best Texan

Seth PayneYou gotta love a defensive lineman with a name like Payne, and the Texans' Seth Payne lives up to the moniker. At least when he's on the field. Unfortunately for Houston fans, the defensive tackle has suffered as much pain as he's inflicted, spending most of the 2003 season sidelined by a torn ACL. When he's able to play, however, Payne is an unsung anchor for the team's unusual defensive scheme -- it's his job to tie up two opposing blockers in order to let the linebackers roam free and get the glory of high-profile tackles. Payne's no slouch at racking up his own tackling stats, too, powering his six-foot-four, 300-pound frame over the top of terrified running backs. Which isn't what you'd expect from a graduate of the Ivy League's Cornell University -- not exactly a football factory. The fancy education helps Payne call the Texans' defensive plays at the line of scrimmage, and it has also led him to be active in the community. He's a frequent volunteer for reading and teaching programs and has done yeoman work for the March of Dimes and the Houston Food Bank. Recovering from a torn ACL isn't easy, but Texans fans are fervently hoping for a Payne comeback.

 
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