The Houston Texans have lost starting cornerback DeMarcus Faggins for six to 10 weeks, likely sidelining him for at least the first month of the regular season, after the four-year veteran suffered a broken right foot.
The injury, which occurred during a Friday training camp practice and was confirmed Saturday following an MRI exam, will require surgery. That will probably take place next week.
Losing the fiesty Faggins, who started a career-high 10 games in 2005 after previously performing as a standout nickel defender for the Texans, means that Phillip Buchanon will return to the starting lineup at right cornerback.
Dunta Robinson, the Texans' top player in the secondary, is the starting left cornerback.
Buchanon, acquired last spring for second- and third-round draft picks, was a disappointment in his initial season in Houston, and the former Oakland Raiders' 2002 first-rounder lost his job to Faggins after the first month of the campaign.
To compensate for the loss of Faggins, the Texans have reached a contract agreement in principle with veteran free agent Dexter McCleon, who was released by the Kansas City Chiefs earlier this spring. If he passes the team's physical exam, McCleon will sign before the end of the weekend. Details of his pending contract were not yet available.
McCleon, 32, is a nine-year veteran with stints in St. Louis (1997-2002) and Kansas City (2003-2005). The former Clemson star has appeared in 131 games and has 30 interceptions and 63 passes defensed. McCleon started five games for the Chiefs in 2005 and has 84 career starts.
It was somewhat surprising, given his experience, that no team signed McCleon after the Chiefs released him. But as is often the case with such unemployed veterans, sometimes it takes an injury, like the one that Faggins sustained, to get into training camp.
Faggins, 27, has appeared in 39 games, starting 13. He has 98 career tackles, three interceptions and 18 passes defensed. A sixth-round pick in the 2002 draft, he has evolved from a practice squad player to a fluid cover cornerback.