- Tania Ganguli, ESPN Staff Writer
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HOUSTON -- As he spoke to reporters, Anthony Denham's phone chirped, likely another congratulatory message from his friends and family.
There had been a lot of those for the tight end who was called up from the Texans practice squad to their active roster on Wednesday.
When it rang with the news, though, Denham almost didn't take the call. It was Bill O'Brien calling from an unsaved number with an unfamiliar area code about 40 minutes after he got home from a workout.
"Came close [to not answering], but something told me to do it," Denham said. "I'm glad I did."
To understand how much this means to Denham, you have to know his background. At 11 years old, Denham was placed in Foster care, separated from his three siblings. He shared that journey with me this spring and shared how much it meant to him to even have the chance as an undrafted rookie to make the Texans' roster.
"It’s better now, because I’m more mature," Denham said. "I see her situation, and I know sometimes you can’t beat drugs. It’s really up to her. It’s all in her head. She’s been in and out of jail a majority of my life, but every time she sees me she can’t do nothing but cry. That’s all she can do, because she’s just, I’ll say, motivated by what I’ve become from where I came from.
" ... I look at it all the time like, man, I’ve been through hell and back. Honestly, I’ve really been there. I’ve always managed to find positive and upside to every negative situation. You know what they say in math, a negative and a negative is a positive. So everything that happened negative turned into the situation I have today."
When O'Brien called him Tuesday to let him know he'd been called up to the active roster, Denham got a little teary-eyed.
"It hit me pretty hard," he said Wednesday. "Finally got the big break; finally got my chance. Now I just gotta explode whatever ability I have and just show everybody what I can do."
To understand how much this means to Denham, you have to know his background.