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Texans release veteran receiver Kenny Stills

A piece of a significant Bill O'Brien-orchestrated trade is moving on from Houston.

The Texans are releasing wide receiver Kenny Stills, NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported. The team later confirmed the release.

Acquired in a trade with Miami just before the start of the 2019 season, Stills filled a need at the position for the Texans, who were in need of a reliable option as protection against Will Fuller's uncertain status last season. Though Fuller ended up playing 11 games in 2019, Stills was a worthwhile addition, catching 40 passes for 561 yards and four touchdowns.

It hasn't been the same story in 2020.

Stills has appeared in 10 games this season, but seen just 19 targets, catching 11 of them for 144 yards and one touchdown. With O'Brien gone to the unemployment line, Stills has played just 24.9 percent of offensive snaps in 2020, going from an important second or third receiver to an afterthought, even after the Texans traded DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona in the offseason.

Instead, Houston's offense has shifted to one that relies on the contributions of Brandin Cooks, Fuller and its cast of tight ends, which includes Jordan Akins, Darren Fells and lately, Pharaoh Brown.

Stills will get a chance to latch on with a team elsewhere, but it will be interesting to see if he makes it past the bottom-feeding squads to a team in the playoff hunt. The 28-year-old has demonstrated he can make an impact for a team in need of a receiver -- as long as he's seeing the field for more than a quarter of the action. We'll see if he ends up in a better situation for the season's final six weeks.

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