Condition of Reliant Stadium unknown

(David J. Phillip/Associated Press)

Damage caused by Hurricane Ike to the roof of Reliant Stadium (David J. Phillip/Associated Press)

The financial meltdown has overshadowed how Hurricane Ike has virtually shut down Houston. The Texans have had engineers into Reliant Stadium to see when — or if — they might be able to play there anytime soon. Chances are yes, but Texans owner Bob McNair said Tuesday he does not know when. He is clearly hoping it is ready for Houston’s next home game, Oct. 5, against Indianapolis.

In the interim, the team is considering alternative sites to play its home games. The most logical is at Rice.  If the Texans play at Rice Stadium it will be the first NFL game there since Super Bowl VIII on Jan 13, 1974.  The Oilers also played there as an AFL team, playing their last game there on Dec 16, 1967 versus the Chargers.

“That’s something to consider and we have discussed that,” McNair said. “Certainly that’s a large enough stadium that that is a possibility. We, right now, are optimistic; at least I am, speaking for myself, that we’re not going to find any structural damage (at Reliant Stadium). The damage is just going to be to the roof, and that’s something that we’re going to be able to deal with and we’ll just have to figure out what the solution will be.”

Yet when asked how long it will take to fix Reliant’s roof, McNair said, “I have no idea.”

While the Texans try to figure out when Reliant will be playable, Houston general manager Rick Smith has tried to pick up pointers from New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis. Smith has peppered Loomis with questions about the best way to handle these situations with his team. It is something no GM wants, but Loomis has, unfortunately, mastered.

“I’ve got Mickey Loomis on my speed dial,” Smith said. “I believe that wise men seek wise counsel, and obviously they have experienced it, so I’ve actually been talking to Mickey over the last couple of weeks about lessons that they learned, things that they would do differently and how we can try to approach our situation to try and work through it.”

Bottom line is that, despite the Saints’ experience, there are no easy answers. The Texans are simply trying to slog their way through.

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