HOUSTON — New Texans defensive end Antonio Smith can't wait to team up with Mario Williams.
The Arizona Cardinals free agent who had eight tackles and a sack in the Super Bowl signed with Houston on Saturday, and it didn't take him long to gush about playing opposite the No. 1 pick from 2006.
"I think it's going to be a great pair," Smith said. "I think that having him on the other side is going to be fun. I like to have fun out there, and I think that's exactly what it's going to be. We're going to cause a lot of havoc for the offensive linemen out there."
Smith appeared in each regular season game and started three of four playoff games for the NFC champion Cardinals last season. His standout effort in the Super Bowl loss to Pittsburgh included a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
The Texans needed someone to start opposite Williams after releasing Anthony Weaver earlier this week. Weaver had just one sack in three years with Houston.
The signing reunites Smith with new Texans defensive coordinator Frank Bush, who was an assistant with the Cardinals before coming to Houston two years ago.
"From the beginning of my career, he always kept me grounded," Smith said. "He always kept me hungry, making me work. He raised my level of play, even as a practice squad player, teaching me just how to practice and how to always go hard and how to always give it my all."
The 6-foot-4, 285-pound Smith had 41 tackles and 3½ sacks last season and has 125 tackles and 14½ sacks in his five-year career.
Smith said Tampa Bay and the New York Giants were among the teams interested in him. The Oklahoma City native who went to Oklahoma State said he chose Houston in part because of its proximity to Oklahoma.
The Texans also re-signed four of their own free agents Saturday: tight end Joel Dreessen, defensive end Stanley McClover, center Chris White and safety Eugene Wilson.