The last time Arian Foster played every game in a season was 2012.
From the outside it appears that was his last fully healthy season, but a running back having a fully healthy season is a bit of an oxymoron. During a podcast on the CBS Radio Network, Foster offered some insight into what he feels the day after a game. Even one he left "healthy."
"It was 2012, I remember it vividly. We played Chicago at Chicago and it was raining,” Foster said. “They have one of the worst fields when it’s raining, the footing is terrible, so we couldn’t throw the ball. This is when we were a run-heavy offense when we went 12-4 and I got 29 carries. I remember waking up the next morning not being able to walk to the bathroom. My bathroom is 15 steps from my bed. It literally took me probably 3 minutes to get to my bathroom. I couldn’t move.”
Foster had the seventh most carries of his career in that game. The six games in which he had at least 30 carries all came in his first two seasons as the Texans' starter. Since 2010, Foster averages the highest number of carries per game of any running back in the NFL.
When Bill O'Brien became the Texans head coach, he used Foster with gusto just like his predecessor Gary Kubiak did. Foster had 55 carries in his first two games playing for O'Brien, one of the highest two-game totals ever.
This is all part of the reason Foster is where he is now -- a 29-year-old running back who hasn't been able to stay healthy lately. He hasn't played a full season since 2012. He had two surgeries last season, one for a torn groin and one for a torn Achilles tendon.
His coaches used him as much as they did because he was so exceptionally talented while healthy. It's a compliment, but unfortunately for Foster, it's a philosophy that has almost certainly shortened his career.