Houston Texans wide receiver Derick Armstrong knows the football equivalent of rock bottom. He's been there. It's cold.
In 2001, Armstrong, who played his college ball at Division II Arkansas-Monticello, wasn't in the NFL. Heck, he wasn't even in NFL Europe. No, Armstrong was earning $500 a week playing on the practice squad of the Canadian Football League's Saskatchewan Roughriders, helping his team's defense prepare for the flurry of passes thrown each week by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Montreal Alouettes, et al.
"That was terrible," Armstrong told the Houston Chronicle. "That's as low as it gets. You begin to ask yourself, 'What are you playing for?' I was about to go home."
But Armstrong didn't go home, catching 70 passes and earning all-star honors for the Roughriders in 2002. Before last season, the Texans gave him a tryout, and now he has the second-most receiving yards on the team (249) despite being listed on the depth chart as the team's fourth wide receiver. In Week 5 against the Vikings, Armstrong broke out, with six catches for 101 yards and a touchdown.
"Every time he gets out there he makes a big play," Texans quarterback David Carr said. "That's a nice problem to have when a guy comes off the bench and makes plays like that."