Texans GM Rick Smith taking 'extended leave of absence'

Kristopher Nichols
January 1, 2018

O'Brien is apparently preparing to make a demand that either he or Texans general manager Rick Smith must be fired because of philosophical differences between the two, according to a report from Alex Marvez of Sporting News.

It involves promoting Smith from general manager to a role more involving organizational operations, and giving O'Brien more say over personnel matters. He determined his wife and three children now needed him more than football.

There has been much speculation about O'Brien's future in Houston, with the Texans struggling through a 4-11 season after winning back-to-back AFC South titles in 2015 and 2016.

"I am eternally grateful to the McNair family for their unwavering support during this trying time", Smith said in a statement Sunday. "I remain committed to our quest to bring a championship to the city of Houston, yet my family needs me now and they are my priority".

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His leave of absence comes after a hard 4-12 season for the Texans that brought rumors of a "toxic" relationship between Smith and coach Bill O'Brien.

O'Brien has one year remaining on the five-year deal he signed upon leaving Penn State to become a first-time National Football League head coach.

"We have a bond here with the coaching staff and the players and maybe it's because of all the things that we kind of had to deal with this year", O'Brien said earlier this week.

That came after Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reported Friday that a source called the relationship between Smith and O'Brien "toxic" and "dysfunctional". O'Brien is now 31-33 in his four seasons in Houston.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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