HOUSTON — Matt Schaub returned to Houston Texans practice on Wednesday after taking time off to attend his grandfather's funeral, a man he called his biggest fan.
The quarterback, normally reticent about discussing his personal life, smiled as he recounted what his grandfather Bob Rutledge meant to him
"He was always there, always supportive," Schaub said. "First one I would talk to when I got home from games growing up and in high school and college. He would always be there to support me. He was a special man ... he lived 90 great years."
Rutledge, who lived in Roswell, Georgia, died Aug. 4. Schaub, whose middle name is Rutledge, was thankful he was given the time off from training camp to attend the funeral on Tuesday in North Carolina.
"It's my mom's dad and she's an only child so we were around him and my grandmother a lot growing up," he said. "So it was huge for me to be able to go back there and spend some time with them. It was big for me and my wife."
Rutledge continued his support of Schaub in his passing as the family asked that memorials be sent to Schaub's Gr8 Hope Foundation, which supports children with medical needs. Schaub was thankful he was able to spend time with his grandfather earlier this summer.
"We went back in early June, it was his 90th birthday," he said. "So to be able to spend that time and share in his birthday was pretty cool."
Schaub said it has been a tough week for his family, but that getting back on the field and to normalcy was a comfort to him. But his morning came close to taking a bad turn when he was almost run over by a golf cart near the practice field when the driver didn't see him.
"Good thing I have pretty nimble feet," he said with a laugh. "I was able to side step it."
Schaub was a perfect five for five in Houston's 27-13 win over Minnesota in the preseason opener last week. He isn't sure how much he'll play on Saturday against the Dolphins, but has plenty of goals for when he's on the field.
"Come out, start fast, make some first downs, move the football, get points out of our drives," he said. "Just being crisp, being sharp with our personnel changes, our pre-snap procedure, and taking care of the football. Just all those things that are the key to winning."
It's a big year for the 32-year-old Schaub and the Texans. He threw for 4,008 yards and 22 touchdowns last season. But wasn't able to lead the Texans to a win over New England in the divisional round of the playoffs, leaving some to question if he is the man that can get the team to the next level.
Coach Gary Kubiak, a former quarterback, has always stood by Schaub and said that criticism comes with the territory of playing the position. He raved about what Schaub's done for Houston and the fact that he doesn't let the negativity get to him.
"He's totally committed to a cause here in Houston," Kubiak said. "He's unflappable when it comes to pressure, which you have to be. You've got to be able to block out noise if you're going to be a quarterback in this league. Regardless of what's going on around him, he's always going to be there for his guys. It takes a lot of responsibility and that's why he's a great player."
The Texans believe that the addition of first-round pick DeAndre Hopkins and the development of their other young receivers will help Schaub and the offense improve this season.