Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith is taking an extended leave of absence to take care of his wife, Tiffany, who recently was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Smith has been tending to his wife throughout this season, while she has undergone treatment in Arizona. He determined his wife and three children now needed him more than football.
“I am eternally grateful to the McNair family for their unwavering support during this trying time,” Smith said in a statement Sunday. “This was an extremely difficult decision for me to make as I love this organization and every member of this team bath on and off the field. 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.”
Meanwhile, speaking after Sunday’s 22-13 season finale loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Bill O’Brien said his future as head coach of the Texans is up to owner Bob McNair.
There has been speculation about O’Brien’s future in Houston after the Texans struggled to a 4-12 season. The Texans went 9-7 in each of the head coach’s first three seasons and won the AFC South titles in 2015 and 2016. On Sunday morning, ESPN reported Sunday morning that O’Brien is likely to be back in Houston in 2018.
O’Brien has one season remaining on the five-year contract he signed when taking over as head coach of the Texans in 2014.
“I don’t have any comment on that,” O’Brien said on Sunday. “I don’t control that. I don’t control that. I’m the head coach. I have a boss, and he controls that. I’ll meet with him, I’m sure, at some point, and we’ll decide what direction he wants to go.”
Last week, O’Brien said he would be willing to coach the final season without signing a contract extension and said earlier this month that he “will never quit as head football coach of the Houston Texans. Ever.”
After Sunday’s loss to the Colts, O’Brien called his first losing season as an NFL coach “absolutely brutal.” O’Brien is now 31-33 in his four seasons in Houston.