So when did the Texans decide it was time to move on from quarterback Brock Osweiler despite a contract that pays $16 million guaranteed in 2017? The decision was made in the aftermath of an incident that occurred on the first day of the calendar year.
January 1. Texans at Titans. Backup-turned-starter Tom Savage took a hit on a quarterback sneak during the first play of the second quarter and was removed for a concussion evaluation. Starter-turned-backup Brock Osweiler entered the game.
Confusion emerged during the second quarter as to whether Savage had been cleared to return to action. At halftime, Savage got the news: He was being shut down for the day.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Savage became very upset, knocking things around in the locker room and otherwise making a ruckus about having his status jeopardized by a doctor’s decision to keep him from playing. At or about the same time, coach Bill O’Brien informed Osweiler that he’d be finishing the game.
Osweiler, per the source, reacted negatively, telling O’Brien in the visiting coach’s office at Nissan Stadium in Nashville that he’s only playing Osweiler because O’Brien needs him. [Editor’s note: That’s sort of how football depth charts work.] An argument ensued, voices were raised. At one point, it’s believed that Osweiler got up to walk away and O’Brien threw out an arm to stop him. That prompted Osweiler to act as if he were being “held hostage,” a claim that he would repeat (per the source) in the days after the game.
And that was that for Osweiler in Houston. Following that incident, the team was determined to find a way to move on from him.
Rumors of an incident of some sort had been percolating for weeks. Both O’Brien and Osweiler downplayed talk of a loud argument in the days after the game. Following the hot potato trade that sent Osweiler and a second-round pick to Cleveland, former NFL defensive back Bryant McFadden said in an appearance on 120 Sports that Osweiler and O’Brien had a “physical confrontation that got ugly.”
“It was physical,” McFadden said. “It was physical. The players and coaches had to restrain O’Brien and Brock.”
Both the Texans and Osweiler’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, declined to comment on McFadden’s claims. Based on the information PFT has obtained, it seems that the incident was mildly physical at worst.
Consider it objectively. Osweiler is six-seven, and he was wearing full pads. O’Brien is considerably shorter than that and, unlike the conventional game-day attire in baseball, was not wearing pads and a uniform.
Whatever did (or didn’t) happen between the two of them, Osweiler’s perceived overreaction to the incident was, we’re told, the moment the Texans decided to move on from Osweiler.