The Houston Texans, off to an 0-4 start, fired head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien on Monday.
The Texans would be in the running for the top draft pick in the 2021 draft. However, the franchise dealt its 2021 first- and second-round draft picks to the Miami Dolphins in 2019 in a trade that saw offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil and receiver Kenny Stills go to Houston.
Texans chairman and CEO Cal McNair said the team is “moving in a different direction” and promoted assistant head coach Romeo Crennel to interim coach for the rest of the 2020 season.
“On behalf of my family and our entire organization, I want to sincerely thank Bill O’Brien and his family for their impact on our franchise,” McNair said in a news release. “Bill’s leadership moved our organization forward as he guided us to four AFC South division championships, 52 wins and multiple playoff appearances during his tenure. Bill proved himself as a coach and leader in this league.
“I spoke with him earlier today and told him we are moving in a different direction. Romeo Crennel will serve as our interim head coach for the remainder of the 2020 season. We have a talented team and I have no doubt our players and staff will rally to make Texans fans proud as we aim to win championships and do great things for the city of Houston.”
As a general manager, O’Brien was taken to task for a series of trades last season and during this past offseason.
“I told (Texans owner) Cal McNair this today: I’m sorry we couldn’t get this team over the hump. But it wasn’t for lack of effort,” O’Brien said Monday. “Every decision we made was always in the best interest of the team. There were things that happened within the walls of an organization that the outside public will never know. And I understand that.”
O’Brien, 50, was previously offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots and head coach at Penn State.
The Texans reached the playoffs in four of his six full seasons and O’Brien was 52-48 in 100 regular-season games as an NFL head coach. Houston went 2-4 in the playoffs.
Due to a fractured relationship with All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, the Texans dealt Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for running back David Johnson in March.
Houston traded former No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney to the Seattle Seahawks prior to the 2019 season after contract negotiations turned sour.
Yet the franchise reportedly is spending a league-high $255 million on its on-field roster in 2020.
McNair brought in Jack Easterby as executive vice president of football operations on Jan. 28 of this year. Easterby is expected to have the strongest voice in locating the team’s next head coach.
Crennel, 73, has head coaching experience with the Cleveland Browns (2005-08) and Kansas City Chiefs (2011-12). He compiled a 24-40 record with the Browns and a 4-15 mark with the Chiefs. Crennel originally joined Houston’s staff as the defensive coordinator in 2014.