Yes, Texans owner Bob McNair won’t be firing coach Bill O’Brien. But that doesn’t mean O’Brien will be coming back in 2017.
The chatter that emerged last week couched the potential divorce as the product of a mutual decision. Per multiple sources, the situation is much more about O’Brien not being happy with the Texans than the Texans not being happy with O’Brien.
The situation arises from friction between O’Brien and G.M. Rick Smith. But the team’s position is that, in an intense industry like football, people aren’t going to always get along. They don’t have to get along; they just have to work together.
The team’s position also may be influenced by a sense that O’Brien was hoping to get a free-and-clear release from his contract, with the ability to pursue a vacant head-coaching job. If someone wants to hire him, they’ll have to contact the Texans and negotiate compensation in advance of negotiating with O’Brien.
The end result, for now, is that the six teams with vacancies know it’s a possibility. Whether someone commences that process remains to be seen. Regardless, it’s now widely known that O’Brien is potentially in play.