01 January, 2018
The Houston Texans were dealt a tough hand this season, but the misfortune may not salvage things between head coach Bill O'Brien and general manager Rick Smith.
Smith has been the general manager for the franchise since 2006 and was elevated to an additional role as executive vice president in 2012. So cutting ties with O'Brien is significantly more painless than getting rid of Smith and then there's the added possibility that an ultimatum will anger Texans owner Bob McNair if he hasn't already made a decision. This was an extremely hard decision for me to make as I love this organization and every member of this team both on and off the field. He's had three 9-7 seasons and won two AFC South titles, but the Texans have collapsed to 4-11 this year after star rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson tore his ACL.
O'Brien has been firmly on the hot seat in Houston and has rarely seen eye to eye with GM Rick Smith.
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Indianapolis Colts' Frank Gore (23) is tackled by Houston Texans' Andre Hal (29) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in Indianapolis. On Sunday morning, ESPN reported Sunday morning that O'Brien is likely to be back in Houston in 2018. "I'll meet with him, I'm sure, at some point, and we'll decide what direction he wants to go". It is unlikely the team would allow him to coach next season without signing him to a contract extension in the offseason.
After Sunday's loss to the Colts, O'Brien called his first losing season as an National Football League coach "absolutely brutal".