Bill O’Brien: “We support our players 100 percent”

Getty Images

Toward the end of the 2016 season, Texans coach Bill O’Brien emerged as a guy who possibly wouldn’t be back in 2017. Rumors and speculation persisted through 2017 that this season could be his last in Houston.

And while there’s nothing like a young franchise quarterback to promote positive relationships between a coach and a front office, owner Bob McNair’s “inmate” comment and the reaction to it has put O’Brien in an awkward spot. Even though O’Brien has said nothing negative about the man who signs his checks, it’s clear that O’Brien remains fiercely loyal to his players.

“Understand the players’ feelings,” O’Brien told reporters regarding the issue that ultimately didn’t distract the team from the task at hand. “Understand that you have 63 guys in that locker room that come from all different types of backgrounds, all different parts of the country. Make sure you listen to the players, and at the end of the day, you support the players. The players are the ones going out there and putting it on the line for us every week. I feel like our coaching staff and our players have a very important bond, and that’s key. That’s why I’ve always, since I started coaching when I was a graduate assistant, it’s always been about the players for me.”

O’Brien knows about dealing with distractions, based on his time as a head coach at a college that was rocked by scandal.

“Well certainly going through that experience at Penn State was a big help for me, personally,” O’Brien said. “I had a lot of great guys around me, with the players that were there and then obviously we had a great coaching staff there. It’s very, very different here relative to what we’re talking about. But we have a great group of guys in that locker room and a great coaching staff. I think you learn from all your experiences and you just try to judge it and try to deal with it in the best way possible.”

O’Brien said that this specific distraction didn’t impact practice (apart from the two players who left on Friday before practice), but that it did alter team meetings.

“Maybe we spent less time on certain parts of the game in the meeting room, but we didn’t lose any practice time, if that makes sense,” O’Bien said. “That’s kind of how we handled it, but the big thing was, like I said, we, big emphasis on we, not just me, like I’ve said from day one, is we support our players 100 percent.”

It’s a strong statement from O’Brien, given the very strong reaction by many players, the decision by all but 10 of them to not stand during the anthem in direct defiance of the owner, and the reality that hard feelings still linger toward the owner, from at least some of the players.

16 responses to “Bill O’Brien: “We support our players 100 percent”

  1. I don’t believe their owner is a racist. I believe he is in a position he’s never been in before and doesn’t necessarily have the polish and skill to deal with a tricky situation. None of the hierarchy of the NFL does. These are businessmen who have focused their lives on making money, not dealing with complex social issues. Look at how ham-handed they dealt with the domestic violence issue. They’re even farther out of their depth now.

  2. I don’t think it has to do with being afraid of the players. I think it all has to do with being understanding of different peoples’ experience and backgrounds. I know most people, especially commenters on here couldn’t even fathom overcoming some of the things these young men have at a young age and using that motivation to become one of the best at your profession. I don’t think people necessarily understand the chord it strikes when you’re African American and called an “inmate.” Expression or not, many of these guys have heard this type of rhetoric several times before and it hits home and hurts, especially as a grown man making an honest living. Sometimes exercising empathy is cool.

  3. charger383 says:
    October 30, 2017 at 4:27 pm
    If they have any cap money left McNair should spend it all on 10 players who stood


    Sure buddy. Whatever you say.

  4. O’Brien is acting like a football coach who just landed a young stud QB, and he can start enjoying life a lot more. He probably thinks they have a chance to do something special this year. They seem to be getting a little better each week. No other teams are looking completely dominant.

  5. The fans do not support the players 100%, and it’s going to be reflected in the salary cap in the coming years.

  6. Bill, you and the other owners need to wake up and realize that these pampered, black players have alienated the fans, and many will NEVER come back to watching the NFL. You need damage control, not player support.

  7. The Texans do support their players 100%.

    They give them their paychecks every week, just like they are supposed to.

    That’s 100% support.

    If they want/need anymore than that, oh well…

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!