New Texan Derek Rivers has close relationship with Jack Easterby

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The Texans agreed to terms with defensive end Derek Rivers yesterday, and that wasn’t exactly big news, given that Rivers has bounced around the league and never started a game in his NFL career. But it was another indication that being close to Jack Easterby is a good way to get a job in Houston.

Easterby, who appears to be pulling the strings in Houston, is so close to Rivers that he officiated at Rivers’ wedding in 2018, when Rivers played for the Patriots and Easterby was the Patriots’ character coach. Rivers said their families are close.

“My wife has a great relationship with his wife [Holly] and their kids. So, we just knew he was the guy for us,” Rivers told the Patriots’ website in 2018.

A Sports Illustrated profile of Easterby in December cited Rivers as an example of a player who had fallen under Easterby’s spell, noting that Rivers called his mother during his rookie year to tell her she had to meet Easterby, and that Rivers and his family celebrated Easter at Easterby’s home.

Easterby’s close relationship with Texans owner Cal McNair has drawn plenty of scrutiny and questions about who’s really calling the shots in Houston. The signing of Rivers won’t do anything to change perceptions that Easterby has a role in personnel decisions.