Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith has issued a statement, indicating that he's taking a leave from his position to care for his wife, Tiffany.
Here's the entire statement, as reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter:
“Effective immediately, I have chosen to take an extended leave of absence to focus my attention and intention on my wife's complete recovery from her recent diagnosis of breast cancer. We are faithful and trust in God's promise of healing and Wholeness. I am eternally grateful to the McNair family for their unwavering support during this trying time. This was an extremely difficult decision for me to make as I love this organization and every member of this team both on and off the field. I remain committed to our quest to bring a championship to the city of Houston, yet my family needs me now and they are my priority.”
There had been reports that the Texans were headed for a showdown — Smith vs. head coach Bill O'Brien — with one or perhaps both being on the hot seat following the season. The two reportedly had been at odds with each other, and the Sporting News reported that O'Brien was set to pitch a "him or me" ultimatum to owner Bob McNair, even though O'Brien previously had said he would never quit the job.
The Texans lost Sunday to the Indianapolis Colts, 22-13, finishing a frustrating season with a 4-12 record. Reports also surfaced Sunday morning that O'Brien was likely to return for 2018, which is the final year of his contract currently.
The news about Smith's wife obviously has changed the story dramatically. McNair still must decide on O'Brien's status and figure out who will step in for Smith.
Rick and Tiffany Smith have been in Houston for more than a decade, and she has helped raise their three children. She also has spent time supporting the Lady Texans — a team-sponsored outreach program — and serves on the board of the Children’s Museum of Houston; Pro-Vision Academy, a charter school serving at-risk youth; and the Susie Bean Foundation, a charity that supports children with special needs.