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updated: 11/7/2013 9:43 PM

Ailing head coach visits with Texans

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Associated Press

Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak was back with his team, if only for a short visit.

He dropped in on the team at the end of practice Thursday, four days after he collapsed at a game with a mini-stroke. Kubiak was not made available to the media, but interim head coach Wade Phillips shared what Kubiak said to the team.

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"Mostly that he missed them and how much he missed (being here)," Phillips said. "(He said) You don't realize until you're away from it a little bit how much you miss the team and being around them, and that kind of thing. And that he felt good. That was his message."

It was the first time Kubiak had addressed the Texans since collapsing on the field and being rushed to the hospital at halftime of Houston's loss to Indianapolis on Sunday night.

"To actually see him and hear him talk to us, that means everything," left tackle Duane Brown said.

Players defend Incognito:

In a culture that fosters conflict, Jonathan Martin sought to avoid it.

Upset by treatment he considered abusive, the Miami Dolphins tackle let the situation fester for months before leaving the team last week. Martin's agent then complained to the Dolphins, who suspended guard Richie Incognito.

The NFL is investigating whether Incognito harassed or bullied Martin, and whether their teammates and the organization mishandled the matter.

Dolphins players have robustly defended Incognito, long considered among the NFL's dirtiest players. He's now a notorious national villain, but teammates praise his leadership and loyalty.

They've been less passionate in their support of Martin, saying he and Incognito behaved like best friends.

"They did a lot of stuff together," tackle Tyson Clabo said. "So if he had a problem with the way he was treating him, he had a funny way of showing it."

Matthews closer to playing:

Packers linebacker Clay Matthews is working his way toward a potential return to Lambeau Field for Sunday's game against the Eagles.

The heavy black wrap that virtually encased his right hand in practice offers a big clue as to why he's missed the past four games.

"I think so. You know obviously it's going to be coach's decision, but you know, I'd like to be out there," Matthews said. "So I'm just trying to get ready to help out in any way which I can."

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