It might have been a forgettable season for the Houston Texans, but they solidified two key leadership positions that kept a measure of continuity for the franchise.
On Saturday, the Texans announced that they were bringing back Brian Gaine to serve their new general manager and that they extended head coach Bill O’Brien's deal. Both men are now signed through the year 2022 — Gaine signing a five-year contract, and O’Brien receiving a four-year extension.
There was widespread speculation about the future of O'Brien coming off the Texans' 4-12 season, one that was marred when rookie QB Deshaun Watson suffered a torn ACL after seven games. But Watson publicly stated that he wanted O'Brien back.
"Bill O'Brien has been a tremendous leader for us these last four years and we believe in his vision for the team moving forward," Texans owner Bob McNair said in a statement. "Bill is a terrific teacher that the players respect. We have a lot of trust in him to build a unified, championship culture and we're thrilled to have him as our head coach into the future."
Gaine spent last season with the Buffalo Bills as their vice president of player personnel. He previously spent time in the Texans' front office and quickly was identified as the favorite to replace Rick Smith, who took a leave of absence from his GM post to help take care of his wife as she battles breast cancer. Smith is no longer the GM, but he retains the title of executive vice president and has said he will be back at some point.
"Brian is an incredibly smart, hardworking individual that understands the importance of good communication," McNair said in his statement. "We couldn't be more excited about naming him our new general manager."
O'Brien's record in the regular season is 31-33, and he's 1-2 in the postseason. Gaine previously served with the Texans Gaine as director of pro personnel under Smith in 2014, later promoted to director of player personnel before taking the job with the Bills.