Thomas Irby loves the Texans.
“We are huge Texans fans me and my wife. We travel to all the away games, all the home games. This will be our third year to never miss a game,” Irby says.
He also loves his students.
“I’ve been teaching here at Klein ISD for 21 years,” Irby says.
He’s a PE teacher at Roth Elementary in Spring. Before that, he taught at Kuehnle Elementary, where Eric Tomlinson, now a tight end with the New York Jets, was one of this students.
“It’s kind of surreal and strange to see him out there playing because I remember the little boy running around at Kuehnle Elementary when I was teaching over there,” Irby says.
Before signing with the Jets in 2016, Tomlinson was part of the Texans practice squad.
“We got to see him at training camp. It was interesting because I see him walking out, of course now he’s like 6’6, 270 pounds and he’s walking out and I said 'hey Eric' and he saw me and he said 'Coach Irby' and his eyes lit up and he dropped his helmet and gave me a big hug,” Irby says.
This weekend the Irbys will be in New York to watch the Texans take on the Jets.
Coach Thomas hopes Tomlinson will sign this jersey, but he’ll be carrying it around and staying true to the Texans.
“He understands that. I would buy his old Texans 83 jersey and wear that," says Irby. "He is a free agent this year and so we would always love to have him back home."
Nothing would make this coach happier.